The Violence Against Women Unit of the Attorney General’s Office is the first of its kind in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It is also the first specialized system response to the issue of violence against women that was designed with the voices of the victims echoing throughout the process. This article, written by the Gender Justice Adviser who assisted in planning the VAW Unit, discusses the results of an in-depth focus group conducted with women victims of violence. The article shines light on the issues affecting the investigation and prosecution of crimes against women from the victim-perspective, provides narratives about women’s experiences of violence and the current and continuing formal and informal system responses to crimes against women and explores the recommendations for future reforms from women victims of violence themselves.
This paper critically examines attempts to conceptualise the use of military intervention on humanitarian grounds, with a focus on the ‘responsibility to protect’ framework, and offers discussion of the way forward in light of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the US-led ‘war on terror’. It traces the history of the concept from its post-Cold War origins through to the UN World Summit of September 2005. The paper concludes with a brief review of the challenges that face the international community in moving forward, and the specific contributions that might be made by the UK government.
This paper examines how the relationship between the military and humanitarians has been affected by renewed activism; most notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. The first part of this paper presents background of the recent military and humanitarian operations in these countries. Given the efforts made to improve civil-military relations during the past decade, the contention is made that this relationship has take “two steps back” because of growing discord between the military and humanitarians, continuing lack of security, and frustration over the lack of progress in what are thought to be “lessons learned.” Second, five lessons learned in the relationship between the military and humanitarians is presented with a discussion of how each has been were ignored or relearned. Third, at least two emergent issues or “lessons” are discussed. The conclusion suggests further steps in improving the way the military and humanitarians interact and presents several questions worth further inquiry.
By canonizing traditional and cultural restrictions on women and girls into official policy and law, the Taliban leadership of Afghanistan has created the most notorious example in the world of state denial of basic rights of women and girls. It is little consolation that these regulations are enforced unevenly at different times and in different parts of Afghanistan. The dilemma faced by concerned individuals and agencies is in finding a strategy that will result in real and lasting improvements in the lives of Afghan women. Righteous indignation and distant protests are inadequate.
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