Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cooperation of Government and NGOs in Eliminating Violence Against Women in Afghanistan

By Mengyou Tang

In the session of Working with Government to End Violence Against Women and Girls, the representative from Afghanistan gives an impressive talking of a successful case about the cooperation of NGO and government to eliminate sexual violence.

Leeda Yaqoobi is the program director of Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) that represents 103 women organizations. Actually, AWN has three main aims: Women Peace and Security, Women’s Political Participation and Leadership, and Women’s Legal and Social Rights. In order to achieve these objectives, AWN designs its projects as a model in advocacy, awareness and capacity building of government institutions. And it has achieved unexpected successes so far.

Among the items of the project, Leeda highlights EVAW Law (The Elimination of Violence against Women), which was drafted in 2004 in the incorporate efforts of Ministry of Women’s Affairs and women’s organizations. Specifically, AWN initially conducted a survey to identify to what extent the law can be utilized to help victims with the core government institutions, like, Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, etc. Also, this survey was done to find out the needs of the key personnel and the challenges these sectors may face while carrying out the EVAW Law. Surprisingly, due to a lack of understanding the specific articles, the implementation of EVAW Law is extremely weak. Thus, personnel of core official bodies were invited to participate in a technical training workshop to ensure that these people implement the EVAW Law in the best matter.

Further, in order to keep the smooth conduction of EVAW Law, the EVAW Law Implementation Committee is established to prepare monitoring report bio annually. The first report indicates only one institution resolves cases of violence legally however the majority of cases are solved by informal mediation methods. The reason for this phenomenon including a lack of enough education and being not critical towards understanding all the aspects and provisions of the important articles of EVAW Law.

To deal with these problems, the committee holds conferences to discuss the status of EVAW Law implementation, finding out what AWN can support. Several methods have been come up with: asking officials to follow up on the recent cases of violence; inviting Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta to play the role as a direct focal point to AWN for further follow up on the meeting; Organizing a National conference on implementation of EVAW Law; adding the EVAW Law at the curriculum of Law Faculty.

Honestly speaking, there are still some deficiencies in the implementation of EVAW Law. For example, women still feel hesitant to report or fill a case against their male family members because of their financial dependence on their husbands. However, the successes achieved through the cooperation of government and NGOs is worth being learned by other countries.

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