Human rights in Afghanistan 'of great concern'Human rights in Afghanistan 'of great concern'
Escalating violence, torture and forced child marriages are some of the rights abuses still blighting Afghanistan four years after the removal of the fundamentalist Taliban government, the United Nations says. The situation of women, denied basic education and healthcare under the Taliban, had improved only in certain respects, with more of them in the paid workforce and education system. "However, the stark reality is that women in Afghanistan, especially outside of Kabul and urban areas, and particularly among the poor, are generally still viewed as the property of men," the report says. Another major concern is child marriage, which some estimates say makes up more than 40 percent of all marriages in Afghanistan. "Girls as young as seven years of age are made to marry much older men, sometimes 30 to 40 years older," often to settle debts or disputes. The practice is in part to blame for regular reports of cases of self-immolation, with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission saying that there had already been 85 cases this year.
Karzai under pressure over editor's jailing
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was under growing pressure on Tuesday to intervene in the case of an editor jailed for two years for blasphemy after clerics accused him of questioning Islamic law. The world's top media rights groups joined Afghan journalists in urging Karzai to intercede after a court sentenced Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of the monthly magazine Haqoq-e-Zan (Women's Rights), at the weekend.
Nasab, 50, was arrested at the beginning of the month after conservative clerics complained about his magazine to the Supreme Court, which in turn asked the public prosecutor's office to arrest him. Articles, including some by an Iranian scholar, criticized the stoning of Muslims who convert to another religion and the use of corporal punishment for offenses such as adultery, Reporters Without Borders said.