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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

Human Rights Council’s Credibility Hinges on Taking Strong Action at Emergency Session

As reports mount of grave human rights abuses by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the United Nations Human Rights Council will hold an emergency session this week. It should immediately mandate the strongest possible monitoring mechanism. Before their…
22 اگست، 2021 کو کابل، کے نواحی علاقے وزیر اکبر خان میں ایک چیک پوسٹ پر طالبان جنگجو ڈیوٹی دے رہے ہیں۔
News

Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Myanmar Win Women’s Rights Posts

When the United Nations General Assembly held its annual election for seats on the Human Rights Council last October, five countries in the Asia regional group vied for four open seats, including two of the world’s most notorious rights abusers, Saudi…
U.N. headquarters Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)
News

Governments Backing Talks Should Press for Civilian Protections

With Afghan peace talks making little progress, the latest report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) makes for grim reading. Although 2020 saw an overall decline in civilian casualties — the lowest numbers since 2013 — a…
Kabul street where gunmen fatally shot two women judges who worked for Afghanistan's high court, and wounded their driver, January 17, 2021. 
News

Failure to Prosecute Abusers Fuels ‘Vicious Cycle’

It has been five years since Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced that his government would “not tolerate torture.” If that were so, the latest United Nations report wouldn’t be needed. Instead, the report documents the government’s failure to…
Taliban prisoners look out a prison door in the city of Jalalabad, August 3, 2020.
News

UN Finds ‘Staggering’ Numbers Tortured in Kandahar

In its biannual report released today, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) noted a modest decline in torture allegations across the country. This is good news. But with about one-third of conflict-related detainees still alleging…
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during during a peace and security cooperation conference in Kabul, Afghanistan February 28, 2018.
News

Government Should Commit to Acting on Findings

India’s government dismissed the first-ever United Nations report on human rights in Kashmir as “fallacious, tendentious, and motivated,” saying the findings are “overtly prejudiced” and seek to “build a false narrative.” …
A woman watches the funeral of a civilian who, according to local media, was hit by a police vehicle during a protest after Friday prayers, in Srinagar, June 2, 2018.
News

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

But Ignores Afghanistan’s Torture Scourge

On Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani promoted his country’s bid to join the UN Human Rights Council. To make his case, Ghani cited the importance of the Universal Declaration of…
Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017.
News

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
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.