Most women approach shelter homes for problems’ solution
NEILI (Pajhwok): The shelter homes in central Daikundi province has tackled a number of problems of women who have now been reunited with their families. A number of women are still in shelter home and efforts are on to resolve their problems.
The lone shelter home was inaugurated in 2013. The facility is viewed as the best available option to resolve women problems as the number of women and girls approaching the shelter are on decrease this year as compared as to last year.
Normally the families who settle their disputes in the shelter home promise that such disputes would not happen in the future.
Aziza Zabihi, head of the women shelters homes, said as many as 48 women had sought shelter with them since 2013, out which 34 reunited with their families in 2014 and 14 in the ongoing year.
She told Pajhwok Afghan News women those approached them were engaged in family disputes such as divorce, elopement and other kinds of domestic disputes.
She said the problems of four women living with them had been resolved so far. The nature of their issues included divorce, dowry and torture. She hoped their problems would be tackled at the earliest.
Head of the women shelter homes said they allow every woman to go with their family after settlement of her dispute, but for that the family members should make sure and bring a letter of commitment from police headquarters, women affairs department, court and human rights’ commission for not repeating incident of violence.
She said women who were feeling some sort of threat could come and seek shelter in the women shelter home after referred by the women affairs department.
Madam Zahihi said: “We appoint defence lawyer for such women to move forward their cases in the court. Men did not have positive mindset about women shelter homes, but I hope positive approach will change their mindset.”
She said they had planned awareness and other kinds of programmes for women who seek shelter in the safe homes.
Provincial Council Member Sumaya Mohammadi considered establishment of women shelter homes a huge facility and hoped for it would be extended to other districts.
She said incident of violence against women took place in the district and the existence of such shelter homes would benefit them.
She claimed women affairs department and human rights’ commission never showed exact number of violence related incidents that took place against women. According to Mohammadi more incidents had been taking place from the number shown by the departments concerned.
But the provincial human rights’ commission said incidents of violence against women declined in the ongoing year as compared to the previous year.
Jawad Dadgar, the Afghanistan Independent Human Right Commission (AIHC) director for Daikundi, said 49 violence incidents took place in the firsts and second months of ongoing year, but the number of similar incident was 56 in the first and second months of last year.
According to the statistics of AIHC, a total 390 incidents of violence took place against women last year. Dadgr said 50 attempts of suicide were registered last year in which four women died and other rescued while in the current year four incidents of suicide had been registered in which two resulted in death.
One of the shocking incidents was the suicide of an 18-year-old girl. She poisoned herself after her parents rejected her marriage against her choice.
Head of provincial human right commission in Daikundi said: “Lack of women’s shelter had added to the grievances of women who faced violence. This shelter has resolved majority of their problems.”
Dadgar said women felt safer in the shelter and they had better opportunity for learning also.
Dadgar said thanks to commission’s efforts as majority of those committing violence against women were being prosecuted and it’s the commission’s stance that other perpetrators should also be brought to justice.
Women’s shelters are being funded by non-governmental organisations, but work under the ministry of women’s affairs.
Zakia Rezaee, director women’s department, said the shelter in the province was for those girls and women who were in danger of violence at home.
“Women are not indifferent towards cases of violence anymore. They have better access to justice now,” she said.
Aqela 21 who spent time in a shelter home last year recalled she was a minor when she got married and now seeking divorce from her husband.
She was now living with her father’s and her husband did not care for her expenses. “My husband demand 400,000 Afghanis if I want myself to separate from him,” she added, saying the amount of money was paid for as a dowry by her husband when he was in Iran.
“I was also threatened by my husband to death. He physically attacked me in the court when we were clearing our case. He wanted to tear up my case documents but the judge prevented him,” Aqila recalled.
She added that the court must help her get divorce from her husband and let she live in peace. But she said that no one in the court helped her in this regard.
The shelter houses are created by non-governmental organizations in 2003 to help protect those women who elope or as a result of other family disputes or those women released from jails but have no relatives.
Officials of the ministry of women affairs denied providing information about the exact number of shelter houses, but according to the information of Pajhwok Afghan News, dozens of shelter houses are active in different provinces of the country where hundreds of women are living.
Women rights activists ask the creation of more shelter homes because they believe the move can hel resolve most of women’s problems.
The United Nations (UN) in Afghanistan also supports the shelter homes for the protection of girls and women.
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