“Very dangerous types of violence against women have increased in Afghanistan: mostly rapes, killings, kidnaps, acid attacks, cutting of body parts and stoning,” according to Najia Karimi, Executive Director of Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA), a partner organization of Donor Direct Action.
She was commenting on a recent news article about a series of acid attacks against women in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. During the war, “such acid attacks were done by members of Hizb-i-Islami under the leadership of Gulbudin Hikmatyar” she said. “They were the ones to start this crime against women. They want to scare women to cover their faces and not to go out of their houses for jobs and education.”
“Through this they show how much they are anti women,” she added, and “not only them but other warlords who have power and are armed. Many incidents have been reported as a result of their internal disputes” including “killing ordinary people.”
“A culture of impunity of perpetrators is one of the reasons behind the violent situation”, she explained. “They are not prosecuted for the crimes they commit and so it continues and women suffer as the result of such crimes.”
As part of their activities to address the widespread, deep-rooted violence against women in Afghanistan, HAWCA trains Afghans in preventative measures, shelters and counsels survivors fleeing abuse, and offers legal aid to those who wish to pursue their cases through the courts.
The organization was founded in 1999 by a group of young Afghan women and men who for years had been volunteering in Afghan refugee camps along Pakistan’s border. It is committed to improving the lives of Afghans – especially women and children who suffered most during the Taliban-rule era – and to encourage the active participation of women and young people in the reconstruction and development of their country.