Gender Fact File - Afghanistan
The 2007 Amnesty International report on Afghanistan points to a dismal state of education for girls, as well as the persistence of social practices like honor killings and self-immolation. See http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Asia-Pacific/Afghanistan.
A 2005 study by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on domestic violence shows that more than 50 percent of women are victims of abuse within their homes. The report says domestic violence is the cause of suicide, self-immolation, forced prostitution and addiction to narcotics.
Forced marriages are common though it is a crime under the law. AIHRC estimates between 60 percent and 80 percent of marriages in the country are forced marriages where the woman has no right to refuse and are “wedded off against their will and consent.”
Many of those marriages, especially in rural areas, involve girls below the age of 15. A large number of women are imprisoned around the country for “running away” from abusive or forced marriages, or for transgressing social norms by eloping under ‘zina’.
Yakin Erturk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, says forced marriages are the prime source of domestic violence in Afghanistan.
Rape is commonplace. The major factor preventing victims of rape complaining to the authorities is the fear that instead of being treated as a victim, they themselves will be prosecuted for unlawful sexual activity.