Afghan Women's Network
AWN

Afghan Women's Network

Declaration regarding the Accusations against the Safe Houses/Women’s Shelters

While the government of Afghanistan is once again at the eve of the Tokyo International Conference where bilateral commitments regarding the acceptance of the responsibility for transition/transfer and permanent welfare and strengthening of the Afghan society will be discussed in which the rights of all citizens should be protected however, the rights of women and children and the role of civil society is still being questioned in the country.  
The safe houses/women’s shelter are constantly and regularly supervised by the related departments of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and other governmental sources including the parliament members based on the last years’ regulation for protecting centers of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, any kind of irrelevant accusations on the safe houses are not acceptable for the Organizations managing these houses. As everyone has learnt from the media, Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has accused the safe houses to moral corruption without providing legal bases in the national conference that was held on June, 17, 2012 in the National Assembly House under the title of: Identification of Vulnerability and Violence against Women and Children. Such accusations can bring the reputation and honor of these houses/shelters and the activists that are managing them, under question. We ask the Minister of Justice for m ore clarification regarding this issue as well as an official
apology.

Minister of Justice should be reminded that these safe houses were established when the government of Afghanistan in 2003 failed to respond to the humanitarian and basic needs of women. Indeed, lack of good management from the emergency assistance of  the government caused a number of women to commit suicide in the Liberty Park in Herat Province, and even some women and children were sexually targeted. In such a situation, the government of Afghanistan asked the Civil Society Organizations lead by women to assist these houses.
The Afghan women, considering the Afghan traditions and the culture of protecting those who are under violence and according to the human values remaining from their ancestors since thousand years, established these houses to protect those women who need to be helped and provide legal assistance for the victims of the violence.
Women’s shelters/safe houses have been inspected /monitored several times by the highly authorized commission for the elimination of violence; comprising members of the Ministries of Justice, Pilgrimage and Religious Affairs, Women’s Affairs, the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan … and didn’t find any proof / evidence of any immoral activity which could be proved so far .Based on a protocol these shelters carry its activities under the continuous/constant supervision of the commission.
We shouldn’t forget that these shelters have saved/rescued Afghan women and girls not to be victimized once again, these women’s shelters are advocating for the Sharia and legal rights of the victims of violence. These were Women’s Shelters which are releasing and rescuing our sisters like Sahar Gul from cruelty, oppression and prostitution. It shouldn’t be forgotten that these shelters have proved themselves that they are the supportive references/centers for police and people. Due to that fact, nowadays hundreds of Afghan women and girls have been saved and sheltered in these safe houses. If these shelters were not available and not effective then today all of these women and girls in Kabul and other provinces have been under the risk/threat of sexual abuses.
We, the representative of civil society, human rights organizations, women’ rights activists, women organizations and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs are asking/demanding from the Afghan Government to strongly/broadly support Women’s Shelters as well as urging the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the President of the country to call for query the state/government’s authorities for their
irresponsible allegations and to clarify the government position in this regard. We are demanding the Government to fire and remove those high ranking state authorities who are ignoring Afghanistan’s existing laws and don’t consider themselves responsible for its implementation. While such kind of allegations/expressions have been confusing the public mind.
Women’s shelters were several times attacked by some media outlets/organs and the women activists have carried their activities for the Afghan women and girls with great tolerance/endurance while they were facing threats/risks to their personal life and the lives of their families, these women must be awarded for their persistent struggles instead to be accused/blamed baselessly and without any reason.
From the Afghan Women Network, Civil Society Organizations , Human rights Commission , Women’s Rights Activists, Women Organizations and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs