Human Rights Watch wants the Afghani government to release 400 women who have been jailed for “moral crimes.”
The rights group has released a report based on interviews with 58 detainees in three women’s prisons and three juvenile detention facilities for girls in various parts of Afghanistan, as well as surveys of judiciary officials and civil and women’s rights activists.
The report indicates that almost half imprisoned women and all the girls in juvenile detention facilities are incarcerated for “moral crimes”, and their main offence in most cases is “flight from unlawful forced marriage or domestic violence.”
Kenneth Roth, the head of Human Rights Watch, said at a press conference in Kabul that Afghanistan is the only country in the world where it is considered a crime for women to run away from home.
He noted that Afghani laws themselves do not criminalize running away from home, but the Afghanistan supreme court is acting as if that’s true.
Roth called on President Hamid Karzai to issue an order saying that running away from home is not a crime and that anyone who is currently in jail for such an offence should be released.
“President Karzai, the United States and others should finally make good on the bold promises they made to Afghan women a decade ago by ending imprisonment for ‘moral crimes’ and actually implementing their stated commitment to support women’s rights,” Roth said.