AFGHANISTAN / JUSTICE FOR WOMEN

20-Apr-2015 00:01:27
Access to justice for women victims of violence in Afghanistan needs to be strengthened, a new UN report has urged. The report states that while there is a legal framework in place for such cases, there remain many factors hindering access to justice and redress for such women, in particular the lack of available civil remedies. UNAMA
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STORY: AFGHANISTAN / JUSTICE FOR WOMEN
TRT: 01:27
SOURCE: UNAMA
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 APRIL 2015, KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
SHOTLIST
19 APRIL 2015, KABUL, AFGHANISTAN

1. Various shot, Simonovic and Kubis among others entering the press conference
2. Med shot, reporters taking notes
3. Wide shot, podium
4. Close up, reporter taking notes
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights:
“Based on women’s insights and concerns, this report makes 19 short term and long term recommendations to the government of Afghanistan to adopt legal institution and policy reforms to improve the protection of women facing violence.”
6. Tracking, conference officer caring copies of the report
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights:
“According to the study, Afghan women who experienced violence use mediation rather that court adjudication to seek justice and remedies.”
8. Close up, conference officer flipping through copies of the report
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights:
“65% of cases were addressed through mediation and 5% through criminal prosecution resulting in imprisonment or fines against perpetrators.”
10. Various shots, female reports at press briefing
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Nicholas Haysom, Head of United Nations United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan:
“As demands for justice through mediation in Afghanistan increase in line with prevailing traditions, we encourage the Afghan Government to take steps to ensure mediation practices protect the rights of women.”
12. Wide shot, reporters taking copies of the report
13. Med shot, reporter reading report
STORYLINE
Access to justice for women victims of violence in Afghanistan needs to be strengthened, a new UN report has urged. The report states that while there is a legal framework in place for such cases, there remain many factors hindering access to justice and redress for such women, in particular the lack of available civil remedies.

The report released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) identifies the factors that enable or hinder women’s access to justice in cases involving violence.

It documents the individual experience of 110 Afghan women victims of violence who sought justice though the judicial system and though non-judicial mechanisms, including mediation, across the country between August 2014 and February 2015.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, said, “65% of cases were addressed through mediation and 5% through criminal prosecution resulting in imprisonment or fines against perpetrators.”

He said the victims’ experiences “also show that mediation needs to be strengthened to make it more consistent and of a higher standard, and above all that its implementation should be closely monitored.”

“Based on women’s insights and concerns, this report makes 19 short term and long term recommendations to the government of Afghanistan to adopt legal institution and policy reforms to improve the protection of women facing violence”, Simonovic said.

The recommendations include expanding the civil remedies available, strengthening the capacity of the criminal justice system to protect survivors, regulating mediation through common standards, and applying the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (the EVAW law). The report also suggests recruiting and training staff – both women and men – to treat survivors of violence with professionalism, dignity, sensitivity and respect.

The report also found that the majority of women were largely concerned with obtaining redress of a civil nature, such as divorce, custody settlements or living in a safe environment rather than seeking criminal sanctions, fearing the negative economic and social consequences they might generate for them and their families.

“As demands for justice through mediation in Afghanistan increase, the Government should ensure mediation practices fully protect the rights of victims,” said Nicholas Haysom, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). He added, “Mediation of violence against women cases require support and monitoring so they are guided by principles of consent, safety, impartiality and inclusivity.”

He stressed that major crimes of violence against women must be prosecuted and adjudicated through the criminal justice process and not mediated, in accordance with Afghan laws and the country’s international human rights obligations.
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