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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

Raid on Kabul Journalists’ Home an Act of Intimidation

An Afghan police raid on the home of two female journalists in Kabul raises concerns about rising threats to women in public life – in this case from the Kabul police, who seem to have taken a page out of the Taliban’s playbook. At about midnight…
Afghan National Police seen near the Defense Ministry compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 27, 2016. 
News

Journalists Assaulted, Threatened, Harassed

Kenyan media didn’t have much to celebrate on World Press Freedom Day. Kenyan police and senior state officials have continued to intimidate, threaten, and physically attack journalists reporting on sensitive issues, and authorities have done…
Ferry passengers flee from police firing tear gas, after new measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus instead caused a crowd to form outside the ferry in Mombasa, Kenya Friday, March 27, 2020.
News

Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
News

Journalists Face Unjustifiable Restrictions, Threats

Many Kenyan journalists and rights activists travelled this week to Ethiopia for a summit to mark the World Press Freedom Day celebrations. It’s a sign of how things have changed that some Kenyan journalists told us how impressed they…
A Kenyan journalist participates in a protest in the capital, Nairobi, against draconian new laws restricting media freedom that were presented in parliament, December 3, 2013.
News

Press Freedom at Risk in Deadliest Country for Journalists

The role Afghanistan’s vibrant media plays in public life represents one of the most significant changes that have taken place in the country since 2001. But that achievement is under threat, as journalists face growing intimidation and…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
News

Policy Bans Government Doctors from Conducting Abusive Tests

A new policy in Afghanistan promises to bar government health workers from engaging in the abusive practice of forcing women and girls to undergo invasive and medically meaningless vaginal and anal exams to determine whether they are “…
A demonstrator attends a rally outside the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Belgium, October 5, 2016.
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

Authorities Should Allow Open Reporting on Issues of Public Interest

Kenya joined the rest of the world to celebrate freedom of the press this week under a hostile and uncertain environment for the media. Despite numerous public promises by President Uhuru Kenyatta to safeguard press freedom, the…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
News

Suicide Attack Targets First Responders, Journalists

Two years ago, Shah Marai, a photographer for Agence France Presse, described the pain of living in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, with little hope for a better future. “I don’t dare to take my children for a walk,” he wrote.  “All I…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
News

The Government Has Defined Harassment, But Abuse is Still Common

Any Afghan woman can tell you that sexual harassment is widespread in Afghanistan. A 2016 study found 90 percent of the 346 women and girls interviewed said they had experienced sexual harassment in public places, 91 percent in…
A demonstrator attends a rally outside the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Belgium, October 5, 2016.
News

Slight Fall in Ground Fighting Civilian Casualties by Government Forces

When I was in Kabul a few days ago, I caught up with an old Afghan friend, who remarked that the relentless violence in Afghanistan is hard for outsiders to comprehend. The mounting toll of dead and wounded has become abstract, he said, hard…
201710Asia_Afghanistan_Shia
News

Journalists Face Intimidation Around Election

Duncan Khaemba, a television journalist in Kenya, was reporting on cases of violence in Kibera, a low-income neighborhood in Nairobi, when he was arrested with his colleague Otieno Willis on August 12, and subsequently released. Media…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
News

Robot Visits US, Afghan Girls Stuck at Home

We want to make a difference and most breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great.  – Team Afghanistan’s statement on the competition website They…
Members of Afghan robotics girls team which was denied entry into the United States for a competition, work on their robots in Herat province, Afghanistan July 4, 2017.
News

Plan Better to Prevent Problems in Hurricane’s Wake

It’s hard to imagine another disaster on the scale of the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti. Yet the latest reports on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti on October 4, suggest its devastating effects,…
News

Alleged Threats, Intimidation Demand Thorough Probe

A purported recording of an encounter between members of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s security detail and a journalist is a troubling reminder of the fragility of the country’s hard-won media freedom. Alyas Tahiri, a…
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2016.
News
It has been a tough year so far for the media in Kenya, with journalists and bloggers bearing the brunt of what seems to be a concerted government effort to silence the press. On January 19, for example, Kenyan blogger Edwin…
Joseph Ole Nkaissery, Secretary for Internal Security and Coordination of National Government, Kenya.
News
Journalism is an increasingly deadly profession in Afghanistan. That is the chilling message from the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC), based on statistics it released this week documenting attacks against the media over the past year. …
A cameraman films a news anchor at Tolo TV studio in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 18, 2015.
News
Emily, a widow from rural western Kenya, lived and farmed on her husband’s land for more than 30 years. While her husband was alive, they lived comfortably, and her four children were happy in school. This ended abruptly when her husband died, and her in-…
Female farmers resettled to Mwaladzi received land with poor access to water and limited productivity. The compensation package also included a new house.
News
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a presidential decree this week reaffirming the government’s commitment to freedom of expression and protection of media workers. The decree commits the government to expedite investigations of journalists killed since…
Afghan policemen and fire-fighters inspect the wreckage of a minibus in Kabul targeted in a suicide attack that killed seven journalists affiliated with Tolo TV, January 20, 2016.