Honor Related Violence (Afghanistan)

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Bebi, fears for her life, September 15, 2006

Bebi (not her real name) fears for her life after fleeing her house in the southeastern province of Paktia in June. The 15-year-old said she was forced into a marriage that she did not want. "I was engaged to an old man when I was only six months old, how can that be right?".

She's now living incognito with friends in the capital Kabul. Facilities to protect women like Bebi are virtually nil in Afghanistan and many resign themselves to their fate.

"My husband treated me like an animal, not as a human, with daily beatings and torture and locking me indoors, "Bebi said. "I know he [husband] is pursuing me to kill me because he thinks I have disgraced him but God knows it is he who was guilty".

So-called honour killings, which rights activists say have become increasingly common in Afghanistan, are murders of women or girls who are believed to have brought shame on the family name. They are usually carried out by male family members, or sometimes by 'contractors' who are paid to carry out the killing and occasionally by children too young to face the law.

The killings are commonly carried out on women and girls refusing to enter into an arranged marriage or for having a relationship that the family considers to be inappropriate. Due to such pressures from families, many women are driven to suicide or flee their homes to escape an honour killing.
Afghanistan: Honour killings on the rise
Integrated Regional Information Networks, September 15, 2006

Bibi Aisha, Nose and ears cut off, 2009

"When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out," 19-year-old Bibi Aisha of Afghanistan says with chilling candor.

Her beauty is still stunning and her confidence inspiring. It takes a moment for the barbaric act committed against her to register in your mind and sight.

Wearing her patterned scarf and with roughly painted nails she shares her story.

"It felt like there was cold water in my nose, I opened my eyes and I couldn't even see because of all the blood," she remembers.

It was an act of Taliban justice for the crime of shaming her husband's family.
. . .
Tortured and abused, she couldn't take it any longer and decided to run away. Two female neighbors promising to help took her to Kandahar province.
. . .
But eventually her father-in-law found her and took her back home.

That was the first time she met her husband. He came home from Pakistan to take her to Taliban court for dishonoring his family and bringing them shame.

The court ruled that her nose and ears must be cut off. An act carried out by her husband in the mountains of Oruzgan where they left her to die.

Maryam, cut open, fetus taken out and buried alive, January 2009

Maryam, 14, was raped by a man in the Yakawlang District of Bamyan Province, central Afghanistan, five months ago. Her mother and brother used razor blades to cut the girl open, take out the foetus, and bury it alive to hide the disgrace, according to Habiba Surabi, the governor of Bamyan.

Maryam had initially concealed the rape, fearing this could devastate her family and possibly end her own life. But five months later, when it became clear that she was carrying a baby, her family decided to “remedy” the problem.

“The baby was alive when they took it from my body… and buried it as it was crying,” Maryam was quoted in the local media as saying.

The “surgery” was conducted violently, recklessly and without any medical arrangements.

“She was butchered like an animal,” said a physician at Yakawlang hospital where the victim was in intensive care.

After the painful “surgery” which lasted almost an hour, Maryam’s abdomen was stitched up with an ordinary needle and thread, medical experts said. Dirty wounds led to her condition deteriorating rapidly. Five days later, she was reportedly taken to hospital half-dead.

“They [her parents] said she was bitten by a dog in the stomach a few days a go,” Ehsan Shaheer, director of Bamyan’s health department, told IRIN from Bamyan on 8 January.

A quick look at her butchered body convinced doctors it was not a dog that had ripped Maryam’s body apart.

“We informed the police and other authorities, and now her mother and brother are in custody,” said Shaheer. The alleged rapist has also been arrested, local people said.

Shaheer said Maryam’s life had been saved but extended treatment and care - unavailable in Bamyan Province - was needed for her to make a full recovery.

“Horrific crimes”

Confirming Maryam’s tragedy, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said it had registered over 2,000 cases of violence against women in the past 10 months - a marked increase on previous years.

“We’re particularly worried about the worsening nature and characteristics of violence against women,” Soraya Rahim Subhrang, a women’s rights commissioner at the AIHRC, told IRIN, adding that women and girls were often victims of “horrific crimes”.

A widespread culture of impunity and lack of support for victims of gender violence has further exacerbated the situation, Subhrang said, adding “The culture of violence has increased because there is no fear of the law.”

The AIHRC called on the government to bring the man who raped Maryam as well as her mother and brother to “transparent and unbiased” justice.

Shakila and Ghulam Sakhi, Stabbed more than 50 times each, June 21, 2009

A father brutally murdered his daughter and a young boy for having love affairs in Samangan province, Northern Afghanistan. He stabbed them many times with a knife.

The girl was named Shakila and was 18 years old and the boy named Ghulam Sakhi was 22. This savage incident took place at 3 in the morning in Haji Umar Village of Aibak city (centre of Samangan).

Officer Amir Jan Istanikzai, police chief of Samangan, told PAN that the murder had been committed by Haji Gulbuddin, the girl’s father. He added that Haji Gulbuddin had called the police and the police went to his home and arrested him.

Stanikzai says that the he has taken the responsibility for the murder of the boy and girl so he is in custody and the case is under investigation.

Dr. Abdul Momin Frotan, in-charge in the Provincial Hospital of Samangan, said that the bodies of the boy and girl were brought to the hospital and that they both have been stabbed 50 to 60 times in their head, face and body.

Frotan claimed that according to the medical examinations, the girl has been raped.