Steps on to curb violence against women
She was summoned to brief senators on the measures being taken to contain the rising violence against women in different parts of the country.
Lawmakers complained women and children, particularly in rural areas, continued to be abused despite the fact that Afghanistan had signed several conventions against such violence.
This week, prayer leaders sexually abused minor girls in northern Kunduz and Baghlan province. The legislators underlined the need for bringing the culprits to book.
Ghazanfar replied her ministry was responsible for monitoring and policymaking but had inadequate budget. Understaffing was cited as another issue affecting its performance.
In addition to women’s affairs departments in all 34 provinces, the ministry planned to set up offices in 100 districts for elimination of violence against women, she added.
Without giving details, she said 13 departments and ministries were working for checking violence against women, but some of them were unable to push their activities successfully.
She added: “We share all cases relevant departments and follow them up. But I want to make clear that the women’s affairs ministry alone cannot deal with the problem.”
Ghazanfar said: “Underage marriage prevents women from receiving higher education. Illiteracy, poverty, mental and physical problems are also contributing to violence against women.”
She suggested the ministry should have peace homes in all provinces where women facing threats of violence could take shelter.
“I have ordered the sacking of some officials for inefficiency, but they are still working. It shows ministers don’t wield the power they should. Three years back, I had fired women affairs director for Kunar but I am still being summoned by parliament in connection with that.”
Ghazanfar asked the Meshrano Jirga to help empower her ministry.
First Deputy Chairman Muhammad Alam Ezedyar, chairing today’s session, said the Senate was striving to implement the decisions of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. He acknowledged violence against women had surged in recent days.
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