Afghan women protest to #StopHazaraGenocide after Kabul bombing kills dozens

Dozens of women from Afghanistan’s minority #Hazara community protested in the capital Saturday after a suicide bombing a day earlier killed at least 35 people – mostly young women, and all from the Hazara ethnic group. Protesters later gathered in front of the hospital and chanted slogans as dozens of heavily armed Taliban, some carrying rocket-propelled-grenade launchers. According to witnesses; peaceful protesters have been met with an increasingly violent response.

A bomber blew himself up on Friday at a Kabul study hall as hundreds of pupils were taking tests in preparation for university entrance exams in the city’s Dasht-e-Barchi area.

Since returning the Taliban to power, the luck of the state rises threats against Hazara and other minorities. The Hazaras are one of the main ethnic groups in Afghanistan, constituting over 20 percent of the population. The Hazaras have long been subjugated and subjected to discrimination and persecution due to their ethnic and religious identity.

Afghan women display placards reading ‘Stop Hazara genocide’ and chant slogans during a protest a day after a suicide bomb attack at the Dasht-e-Barchi learning center in Kabul on October 1, 2022. © AFP

@LinaRozbih The people in Afghanistan are killed because they are #Hazara, killed because they are #Shia, killed because they #seek_education, killed because they raise their voice against the #Taliban’s atrocities, killed because they seek their #rights…and the world only condemns & ignore.

@UNAMAnews UNAMA human rights teams in Kabul helping establish accurate record of college attack in #Hazara neighborhood. The latest UN figures show at least 35 killed & 82 hurt. The majority of casualties are girls & young women. All names need documenting & remembering & justice must be done.

@thedaoudnaji UNAMA asked the Taliban to provide security for the Hazaras, this looks like asking the Nazis to provide security for the Jews. #stopHazarGenocide

Pain, anger, sadness, frustration, impatience, and worry are words that describe my feelings right now. Seeing that dreams, hopes and desires are replaced by screams, sighs, and moans are killing me. |Amir Abbas| #StopHazarzaGenocide

UNICEF also offers its heartfelt condolences to all families affected by this terrible event and wishes for a swift recovery to the injured. “Violence in or around education establishments is never acceptable.  Such places must be havens of peace where children can learn, be with friends, and feel safe as they build skills for their futures.

Alongside the women’s pretests in Kabul, many Afghan citizens rises their voices on Twitter with the hashtag #StopHazarzaGenocide screaming with pain, anger, sadness, frustration, impatience, and worry, the words that the world leaders cannot and will not feel right now.

Mokhtar Yasa twitted; 20 yrs ago, Zahra Ahmadi was born to a #Hazara family in #Ghor province. She studies hard to get to this stage of her life. She dreamed to continue her university studies & serve her nation. The terrorists took her life & dreams by attacking her #Kaaj academy. #StopHazaraGenocide

“Children and adolescents are not, and must never be, the target of violence. Once again, UNICEF reminds all parties in Afghanistan to adhere to and respect human rights and ensure the safety and protection of all children and young people.” <UNICEF>

Ethnic dimension

As the UN has condemned a suicide bombing against Hazara, in their report to the Human Rights Council on 6 September, Mr. Bennett detailed how Hazara communities have been subjected to multiple forms of discrimination, negatively affecting their economic, social, cultural, and human rights.

“There are reports of arbitrary arrests, torture, and other ill-treatment, summary executions and enforced disappearances,” the Special Rapporteur insisted. “In addition, an increase in inflammatory speech is being reported, both online and in some mosques during Friday prayers, including calling for Hazaras to be killed.”| UN Human Rights Council |

On maj last year, before the Taliban’s return to power, at school in Dasht-e-Barchi at least 85 people — mainly girls — were killed and about 300 were wounded. At that time also Taliban were the focus of claims by international and national media. The decision on education has worrying echoes of the tactics the Taliban used in the 1990s, when they last ruled Afghanistan, to bar girls from school without issuing a formal prohibition.

Women are imprisoned in their homes and are denied access to basic health care and education. Food sent to help starving people is stolen by their leaders. The religious monuments of other faiths are destroyed. Children are forbidden to fly kites, or sing songs… A girl of seven is beaten for wearing white shoes. — President George W. Bush, Remarks to the Warsaw Conference on Combating Terrorism, November 6, 2001.

Violation of Basic Rights

Again the Taliban claims that we are trying to ensure a society in which women had a safe and dignified role, but the facts show the opposite. Women were stripped of their dignity under the Taliban. At the moment they are unable to support their families. Girls are deprived of basic health care and of any semblance of schooling. They are even deprived of their childhood under a regime that took away their songs, their dolls, and their stuffed animals — all banned by the Taliban.

The Taliban perpetrated egregious acts of violence against women, including rape, abduction, and forced marriage. Some families resorted to sending their daughters to Pakistan or Iran to protect them. Many Afghan activists’ lives are hidden and many have already left the country with the support of US and NATO members.

[Today’s horrific attack is… a shamefaced reminder of the inaptitude and utter failure of the Taliban to protect the people of Afghanistan. [Taliban’s] actions of omission and commission have only further aggravated the risk to the lives of the people of Afghanistan, especially those belonging to ethnic and minority communities. Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner

By Marziye Vafayi and edited by Basir Seerat.

Taliban takeover, safe houses for women have vanished

On the 6th of December, Amnesty International issued a statement expressing concern about the closure of all safe houses in Afghanistan. In a traditional-patriarchal society with a high rate of domestic violence, gender-based violence, it is vital to run and build as many safe houses as necessary. 

A woman calls to a friend in Kabul,  “I’m really worried I’m not going to be alive tonight.” This means she is sacred and perhaps she needs a safe haven far from the violence! But are there any safe houses in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover? Are the Taliban willingly jailing the victims? 

Victims of violence are sheltered for many years across Afghanistan, these safe houses due to the dangers and Taliban takeover faced serious challenges, and the women needed immediate intervention for help. Beating, rape, physical and sexual violence, and forced marriage are among the most common forms of gender-based violence in Afghanistan as in many countries.

The woman, Reza Gul, 20, was attacked by her husband with a knife on Sunday in Shar-Shar, a village in an impoverished and Taliban-controlled part of Faryab Province.  2016

Amnesty International quotes from the interviews; women from the shelters have vanished, the security personnel of these shelters in the Badghis, Bamyan, Daikundi, Herat, Kabul, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Paktika, Sar-e-Pul, and Takhar provinces have been abolished. Safe houses were closed.

Many of the safe houses were looted and occupied by Taliban members, and the ability to provide essential services to women and girls who are facing violence has been eliminated.

In some cases, Taliban members harassed or threatened and jailed their staff, the women who remain alongside the other staff have no access to the safe houses.  The women lawyers, judges, governmental officials are now at risk of death, lashing punishment, and serious violence.

Soon after the Taliban takeover, they attacked the women shelters in many cities; they gave the women two options: Return to their abusive families some of whom had threatened them with death for leaving, or go with our Taliban mujahideen, it means there is no safe heaven under our Islamic authority than to accept Jihad ul Nikaah

Over the past two decades, activists set up dozens of women’s shelters around Afghanistan. But even before the Taliban takeover, conservative Afghans, including government officials, viewed them with suspicion, as places that help women and girls defy their families or abet moral crimes. 

A shelter in Kabul in 2014. Whether such centers will continue is firmly in the hands of the Taliban, who are expected to announce their own laws soon about women’s conduct.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Should Afghan women accept the barbaric violence by the family or Taliban?  

Most of the women chose to return back home, fearing the Taliban were more than fearing life from their own families. According to Afghan news agencies, the Taliban imprisoned women instead of giving them shelter, clothes, and basic needs. 

“Amnesty International Secretary-General, Agnes Kalamar said the Taliban had opened prisons across the country, without considering the dangers posed by criminals convicted of women and girls who were the actual victims, and those who worked for survivors.”

There should be always several obligations to those who rule Afghanistan;

They should protect and support women under any circumstances, and the UN and international organizations can observe meaningful support received by women as well as guarantee the accessibility of the shelters. 

To protect women and girls from further violence, Amnesty International has called on the Taliban to “support the reopening of all shelters and the restoration of other protection services for survivors. Taliban are encouraged to the revitalization of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, ensuring free and fearless retaliation.”

Amnesty International also asked the Taliban to allow women who have been or are experiencing violence to re-enter safe houses to ensure that its employees continue to work without any fear.

By: Marziye Vafayi writer & psychologist

Afghan Court Cancels Death Sentences in Mob Killing of Woman

An Afghan court has overturned the death sentences for four men convicted of taking part in the shocking mob killing of Farkhonda in Kabul City some months ago, a judge said Thursday. farkhonda

Three of the men convicted of the murder of Farkhunda Malikzada in March were instead given 20-year sentences, and the fourth was sentenced to 10 years, said Appeals Court Judge Abdul Nasir Murid.

The ruling was made in a closed-door hearing on Wednesday and first reported by the independent Tolo TV. Tolo said the court acquitted the peddler at the shrine who allegedly incited the mob by falsely accusing Malikzada of burning a Quran.

The court’s decision, which has not yet been made public, has outraged her family, who said they are still waiting for justice. Lawmakers and activists also criticized the decision, saying the court had bowed to the conservative religious establishment and failed to uphold the rule of law.

“This is against the constitution. The courts should be open to the public, and this closed-door hearing undermines the credibility of the sentences,” said Shukria Barakzai, a lawmaker and women’s rights advocate.

The mob killing led to calls for judicial reform and stronger protection for women from violence. After the peddler at the Shah-Du Shamshira shrine falsely accused Malikzada of burning a Quran, a mob attacked her as police watched. After punching, kicking and beating her with wooden planks, the crowd threw her from a roof, ran over her with a car and crushed her with a block of concrete. They then set her body alight on the bank of the Kabul River.

The attack was filmed by many people in the mob, and the footage widely distributed on social media. Of the 49 people convicted, including 19 policemen accused of dereliction of duty, 37 were released last month ahead of their appeals.

Eddited by Afghan human right website

Read more: ABC news

How social media changed Afghan women life?

Nargis Rezai Afghan blogger

In 2013 I was awarded the global best blog Persian by “Deutsche welle”. Beside blogging I got involved into the community and start social activities in Kabul. Every thing start by blogging, a simple daily report of the world around me! Still I write because I believe in change.

I start blogging in 2009 and was on of the first afghan women who had blog in a society a very small percent of youths (mostly men) used Internet. For long time my blog had no viewer but now readers from all over the world check it. By blogging not only I connected to other blogs but also their thoughts, dreams and information.

I remember when I start using Internet; US Embassy donated five computer systems to national library of Herat city. After hours waiting we could use half an hour 128 kb/s Internet for searching about an article in Google or open the yahoo mail or chat by yahoo messenger.

I had a high passion to change my life and people around me; also I was very happy that I could show a real feature of Afghan women life to my readers who mostly were not living in Afghanistan.

I am happy that nowadays Life gets very easier, smart phones come to the bazar and made the world connected. New platforms like Facebook, instagram, LinkedIn, and twitter made us more social, aware and open-minded. Internet is also very cheaper because many different companies provide Internet service. Girls can easily use the social media everywhere they are living.

After a while blogging was my weapon to fight, the best tool to amplify my voice from inside of Afghanistan and point the reality of our society on basic rights of Afghan women and children, injustice against minorities and corruption inside the government system.

However the Stoning, murdering, number of wives, marriage under the age of 18, forced marriage and being deprived of right of education is what we often hear about Afghan women life situation in media but in other hand we have women who are the symbols of resistance and fighting for better life based on human standards.

Below read my chat with three famous Afghan woman social activists that briefly answer my four questions, 1-How social media changed your life? 2-What are the challenges toward social change through social media for women in AFG? 3-What is the weakness of Afghan society from your perspective to accept/ judge/ evaluates your willing/goals/ideas? 4-How effective you feel your activities are in social media?

3 Masooma Ibrahimi, one of the first Afghan woman blogger who is studying MBA in Arkon university in Ohio USA.

Masooma Ibrahimi, one of the first Afghan woman blogger who is studying MBA in Arkon university of Ohio in America, started social life from Blogging says; “social media helped me to find new friends, keeping in touch with old friends. To communicate and have dialogue with large group of people about different issues. Beside that social media is a platform to get and expand the information and ideas. The most challenging part is protecting your identity and your privacy and to write under the own names. It also happened that other people start a fake account under your name. Afghan society is traditional and religions society, they react hard when they traditions and their religious is denied or challenged. This reaction is getting worse when women disobey them. My life is totally changed by my blog and I learned a lot”

Kobra Rezaie a Socio-political activist who worked as director of gender in the ministry of Urban and Development Affairs and now I doing master degree in Japan says:

“Nowadays social media is a significant tool towards democracy. Talking about social media without considering freedom of speech is impossible. Sustainable democratic process needs strong social media tic activities and support freedom on social media activities.

2 Kobra Rezaie a Socio-political activist who worked as director of gender in the ministry of Urban and Development Affairs

Particularly in Afghanistan, role of traditional and social media is really remarkable. During all conflicts which have had happened in last 12 years in Afghanistan one of most vulnerable group which have had suffered from challenges are women.

Politician women have used mass media and social media to introduce themselves to the society even out of Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is a traditional country and women were hidden from public environments. Mass media and social media has been opened worlds’ windows towards Afghan women capability and ambitious.

Base on my own experience, I had participated as youngest candidate during provincial election in Heart city in 2009. I was too young and honestly I did not know about ethnics, religious and regions well because I have risen out of Afghanistan. During political campaign I have understood that in my country multi-ethnicity, multi-cultureless and regions function as a fragmented features not as unity. Social media helped me to introduce plans, ideas and future programs that I have, very fast and easy.

Farkhonda Akbar Tufaan who studied International Relation works with United Nation in New York says: “Social media has connected me to my homeland and to the world. Therefore, I am involved in social issues happening back in Afghanistan and participate in campaigns, particularly related to Afghan woman issues and human rights. As a result of social media, I have become more active and more aware. An Afghan woman face a lot of challenges on social media, as a precedent has not been set before on how Afghan woman is ‘expected’ to present or appear on social media. Thus brings a lot of challenge to the Afghan women on practicing the culture of social media – such as ‘selfies’, personal statuses, photo sharing. Afghan women on social media cannot be part of it to a certain extend as the taboos and restriction that physically exist in the society is dragged on social m

1 Farkhonda Akbar Tufaan ,studied International Relation works with United Nation in New York

edia by the Afghan themselves. Afghan society is practicing its ultimate freedom on social media and in their democracy – both concepts are new and therefore are raw in the context of Afghanistan. My activities are certainly effective enough for the audience I am targeting. My activity is effective as long as like-minded people support it, repeat it and joins it. Once an activity is shared on social media, it becomes popular, just for the fact how many people you can influence.”

I believe the correct news and the contents in social media are the weapon of the democracy because it power comes from people thoughts. But unfortunately, the literacy rate is low in Afghanistan. Most of people are living in rural areas. Economic growth is very slow and development projects have not adequate speed. Government is struggling with insurgents and armed group. Taliban as most strict Muslim group is big threat for citizens inside the country. Therefor state could not pay enough attention to women issues and support women’s rights as much as internal and international expectation.