Afghan Women in the News April 2008

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Articles referenced below are for informational purposes only, and do not reflect the opinion or policies of UNIFEM and the United Nations. Content is protected under international copyright laws, and should be cited from the original source.

Blaming the victim: Abused Afghan women often end up in jail

April 30, 2008 | Yahoo News new window By ALISA TANG

JALALABAD, Afghanistan - Trafficked across the border from Pakistan with her 3-year-old son, Rukhma was handed to an Afghan who raped and abused her, then beat the toddler to death as she watched helplessly.

He was jailed for 20 years for murder, but Rukhma ended up in prison too.

Rukhma, who doesn't know her age but looks younger than 20, had put up with her mistreatment for three months last summer before seeking protection and justice from authorities...

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FEATURE-Death in childbirth: A health scourge for Afghanistan

April 30, 2008 | Reuters AlertNet new window By Tan Ee Lyn

FAIZABAD, Afghanistan, April 30 (Reuters) - A woman haemorrhages to death as she lies screaming in agony in a spartan hut in a remote region of Afghanistan. There is no doctor or midwife to help and the hospital is several days journey away.

Women die this way every day in Afghanistan, a country with one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates.

About 1,600 Afghan women die in childbirth out of every 100,000 live births. In some of the most remote areas, the death rate is as high as 6,500. In comparison, the average rate in developing countries is 450 and in developed countries it is 9.

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Afghan women and ex-combatants turn to gardening for peace and prosperity

April 28, 2008 | Relief Web new window

An innovative gardening and literacy programme delivered by the United Nations is offering Afghan women and ex-combatants the chance for a fresh start by providing literacy classes and the opportunity to make an income from setting up their own gardening nurseries.

The Green Afghanistan Initiative (GAIN) is run by six United Nations agencies led by the World Food Programme and aims to reverse the environmental damage caused by decades of conflict, uncontrolled grazing and illegal logging through the creation of home nurseries.

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UN gardening scheme provides fresh start for Afghan women, ex-combatants

April 28, 2008 | UN News Centre new window

A United Nations gardening and literacy project for Afghan women and ex-combatants seeks to pave the way to peace and prosperity in the war-torn nation.

Aimed at reversing environmental damage wrought by decades of conflict, uncontrolled grazing and illegal logging, the Green Afghanistan Initiative (GAIN) - run by six UN agencies, led by the World Food Programme (WFP) - will give participants the chance to make a fresh start through literacy classes and setting up their own nurseries to generate an income.

"These nurseries are making a huge difference to the lives of ordinary Afghan people and also to our environment," said Obaidulla Ghafouri, the programme's coordinator, at the GAIN's Heart centre, noting that rural communities and farmers' livelihoods have been impacted by deforestation.

He noted that the nurseries provide regular jobs for ex-combatants and also for women, who can support their families with income earned while attending literacy classes.

More than 500 GAIN nurseries have been set up throughout Afghanistan since 2005, and by the end of this year, more than 5 million plant saplings will have been grown and over 1 million trees planted.

The country is prone to desertification, and this has been exacerbated by limited rainfall, mismanagement, abuse of natural resources, droughts, floods and population growth.

GAIN-backed provincial re-forestation centres - seeking to boost public awareness on the issue - will be established, serving as both agricultural knowledge centres and high-yield nurseries.

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Speaking up for the women of Afghanistan

April 26, 2008 | Oakville Beaver new window By David Lea

Imagine losing your status as a person just because you're a woman and no one has the inclination to stand up to your oppressors.

For Oakville native and journalist Sally Armstrong, imagining such degradation is not necessary as she bore witness to it first hand when she visited Afghanistan shortly after the Taliban took over in 1996.

Armstrong, an Amnesty Award winner, member of the Order of Canada and contributing editor to Maclean's magazine, spoke about her experiences in Afghanistan to an audience of around 100 people at the Kensington Retirement Residence on Tuesday.

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Soldiers learn to assist Afghan women

April 26, 2008 | Calgary Sun new window By BILL KAUFMANN

Canadian soldiers headed to Afghanistan are getting a crash course from Mount Royal College students on helping women in the war-ravaged country set up businesses.

A trio of entrepreneurship students will teach 20 soldiers at CFB Wainwright this weekend the finer points of aiding Afghan women in identifying business opportunities and following them through on them...

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HIGHLIGHT: AFGHANISTAN: CHOICE FOR WOMEN

April 25, 2008 | The Globe and Mail new window By HENRIETTA WALMARK

Filmmaker Hadja Lahbib's documentary provides vivid portraits of two powerful Afghan women leaders in defiance of conventional notions about the country's extreme repression of women. Habiba Sorabi is Afghanistan's first female governor. Aisha Habibi, also known as Commander Kaftar, is the country's only female warlord. Both women wear head scarves. The governor dresses in long-skirted Western-style suits over pants; the "commander" in more traditional long layers over pants...

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Afghan MPs may ban jeans and makeup

April 24, 2008 | The Guardian new window By Pia Heikkila

The Afghan parliament is considering a law to ban makeup, men's jeans, long hair and couples talking in public, amid fears that the country is sliding back to Taliban-style rules and conservative power.

The proposal is seen as part of a wider push for Islamic values by Afghanistan's ruling religious elite. It follows government attempts to ban hugely popular Indian soap operas and a recent decision by the high court to confirm the death sentences of nearly 100 people.

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Dying Afghan Girl Leaves Country for Surgery

April 22, 2008 | National Public Radio (NPR) new window By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Adila, a young Afghan girl with a life-threatening heart defect, has been dispatched to Pakistan, where it is hoped she will undergo emergency surgery. But some worry she won't survive the trip.

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Dying Afghan Girl Leaves Country for Surgery

April 22, 2008 | National Public Radio (NPR) new window By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Adila, a young Afghan girl with a life-threatening heart defect, has been dispatched to Pakistan, where it is hoped she will undergo emergency surgery. But some worry she won't survive the trip.

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