By Mark McMurray
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
KABUL, Afghanistan— On Wednesday, over one hundred people took to the streets of Kabul to protest the execution of a 22-year-old-woman.
Najiba, the woman executed last month, was accused of adultery in a village in Parwan province, sixty miles north of Kabul. Caught on tape, the execution has been broadcast by news outlets across the world. The horrific video shows a woman being shot multiple times while men who gathered to watch the murder cheer. Protestors and the international community, reacting to the footage, have called for the government of Afghanistan to do more to protect the rights of women. In response to mounting pressure regarding the incident, government officials blamed the killing on the Taliban. The group has denied the killing, saying it would have conducted the execution according to proper sharia (Islamic) law.
Wednesday’s march saw protestors make their way from the ministry responsible for women’s affairs to the UN headquarters in Kabul while chanting “We want justice!” The group, which consisted mainly of women, included mothers with babies and children in school uniforms further demanding “Death to the men who killed our sister!”
Sinkai Karokhail, a member of parliament who marched with the protestors, told AFP, “The execution of the woman by the Taliban was a crime … the government must do everything to bring the culprits to justice.”
With a recent pledge of $16 billion for development from Tokyo donors due to be paid out over the next four years, the news of the execution raises questions about the proper role of aid within Afghanistan. Wazhma Frogh, a leading women’s rights activist in Afghanistan, said at the protest, “We are grateful for the aid money, but we want it to be used to bring women justice and peace, the Afghan government needs to be held accountable.”
Afghan women are starting to feel more left out of society, as years of war and cautious donors threaten to roll back the gains women have made in the country following the downfall of the Taliban. Additionally, with foreign troops set to leave by the end of 2014, there is a real concern about the advancement of women’s rights in the country currently ranked as the world’s worst place to be a woman, according to a major global poll last year.
For further information, please see:
Afghanistan Times – Afghans Protest Recent Public Killing of Woman – 11 July 2012
Reuters – Afghan Women Protest for Rights After Public Execution – 11 July 2012
Telegraph – Afghan Women Protest Over Woman’s Public Execution – 11 July 2012
VOA – Afghan Activists Protest Woman’s Public Execution – 11 July 2012