Monday, March 30, 2015

Press Release: Afghan Women's Organization Condemns Brutal Killing of Farkhunda

March 27, 2015 -- Toronto: The Afghan Women’s Organization (AWO) condemns the brutal killing of 27 year-old Afghan woman, Farkhunda, and extends its deepest condolences to her family. Our hope is that initiatives such as the Government of Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment will enable us to join forces in an international spirit, allowing us to create a movement to recognize the achievements of women’s human rights, but also to realize the steep challenges and the distance we still need to go to stop gender-based violence. Women in Canada, in solidarity with our sisters in Afghanistan must create a milieu of understanding and support. We must examine and change our societal attitudes with strong government leadership and responses.

Last Thursday in Kabul, Afghanistan, an angry crowd beat Farkhunda to death and burned her body while several police officers stood idly by. Farkhunda had been accused of burning a Quran, but Afghan officials said no evidence had been found to support the claim. The brutal killing of Farkhunda is a heinous act and all those responsible (including the police who witnessed the crime, but neglected their duty to protect her) should be prosecuted.

The AWO is gravely concerned by the continued increase in violence against women and girls in Afghanistan. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, recently visited Afghanistan in November 2014. Ms. Manjoo confirmed through reports and interviews the, “continuing prevalence of different manifestations of violence against women and girls in both the public and private spheres.”  These include the rape of women and girls, targeted killings of women, violence perpetrated by husbands and other relatives, and violence linked to early and forced marriages. There are also issues of access to justice for women and girls. It has been reported that the justice system is inaccessible, unresponsive, corrupt, and untrustworthy, especially in relation to women’s rights.

We appeal to the international community, including Government of Canada, to urge Afghanistan’s Government to adopt sustainable measures to address the causes and consequences of gender-based violence in Afghanistan. Farkhunda's brutal killing occurred under the watch of the police. The Afghan Government must be pressured to effectively address the lack of accountability within the Afghan National Police, which is partly funded by the Canadian government. 

We seek justice for Farkhunda and all Afghan women who are victims of violence. 

Media contact:

Ms. Adeena Niazi, Executive Director
789 Don Mills Road, #700, Toronto, ON M3C 1T5
Phone: 416-588-3585
Email: aniazi@afghanwomen.org