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For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
News

Proposed Law First Step to Curb Impunity, Reform Police

Pakistan is moving to make torture a criminal offense, an important step in stemming widespread abuses by the police. A bill submitted to parliament this week by Senator Sherry Rehman – The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment…
201905asia_pakistan_police
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Groundbreaking 2009 Law Hasn’t Brought Justice for Victims

It seemed like a breakthrough. In 2009, when then-President Hamid Karzai signed Afghanistan’s Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW Law), women’s rights activists celebrated a hard-won victory. They looked to a future…
Members of civil society organizations chant slogans during a protest to condemn the killing of 27-year-old woman, Farkhunda, who was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men in central Kabul in broad daylight on Thursday, in Kabul March 24, 2
News

Stiffer Punishments Don’t Appear to be Deterring Crimes

On September 20, a man in Peshawar killed his two daughters because he thought they had boyfriends, and felt “ashamed” – the latest in a series of recent horrific acts of violence perpetrated in the name of “honor.” In a…
Members of civil society hold placards during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan against a recent "honor" killing on May 29, 2014.
News

US Should Stop Supporting Kandahar Strongman

When it comes to cosying up to alleged torturers in Afghanistan, the United States military has been a slow learner. The US-led NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan just published a photo of Gen. John Nicholson, commander…
A photo depicting General John Nicholson, Commander of United States forces in Afghanistan (C) with Kandahar's General Abdul Raziq (R).
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UN Committee Calls for Action against Gen. Abdul Raziq

When the United Nations Committee against Torture grilled Afghanistan’s delegation last month about government efforts to curb torture, members asked about one person in particular: Gen. Abdul Raziq. That was no accident. Raziq, the…
General Abdul Raziq, Afghan National Police chief for the southern city of Kandahare, addresses officers during their graduation ceremony at the Kandahar Regional Training Center in southern Afghanistan, Jun. 7, 2012.
News

Hekmatyar Deal an Affront to Victims of Grave Abuses

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of Afghanistan’s most notorious war crimes suspects, who as prime minister in 1992 shelled his own capital, is coming home after decades in exile, thanks to a peace deal with the national unity government. His return will compound…
Former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar speaks to a Reuters correspondent in Tehran Febuary 5, 2002.
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The Afghan government has struggled to explain an incident of police torture documented in a video  circulated this week on social media. The two-minute video, filmed on a smart phone, shows police dragging a suspect…
Screenshot of a video apparently showing Afghan police in Kandahar abusing a detainee.
News
The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
News
The photo is shocking. A young woman – 20 years old – lies in a hospital bed, cradling her infant. Where her nose should be is instead a ragged bandage. Her eyes gaze out from over the bandage, looking far away and numb. This is…
Afghan woman Raiza Gul, 20, and whose nose was sliced off by her husband in an attack, lies on a bed with her baby as she receives treatment at a hospital in the northern province of Faryab on January 19, 2016.