The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2020/487) issued on 03 June 2020.
The underreporting of sexual violence remains a concern in Afghanistan, stemming from an overall situation of gender-based inequality, discriminatory social norms and stigmatization, which prevent women and girls from accessing information or services. This is exacerbated by a climate of impunity, widespread violence and limited access to areas under the control of armed groups. In 2019, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 102 cases of sexual violence, 27 of which were able to be verified as conflict-related, affecting 7 women, 7 girls and 13 boys. Those incidents were attributed to members of the Taliban. The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and a pro-government militia were also implicated. Two of these incidents were documented as bacha bazi, a practice involving the sexual abuse of boys by men in positions of power. Eight cases were transferred to the national judicial system, resulting in four convictions. The United Nations received further information of 18 credible allegations of conflict-related sexual violence, which could not be verified owing to safety concerns.
The Government continued its efforts to harmonize domestic laws and policies with international standards, promulgating a Law on Protection of Child Rights, and a policy for the protection of women in war and emergency situations, as well as reviewing the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women and approving draft regulations on emergency funds for victims. Family protection centres and women friendly spaces exist in several provinces to provide holistic assistance to survivors of sexual violence. In August, the Government launched its second national action plan on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), with support from the United Nations. In remote areas, where State authority is limited, the use of local conflict resolution mechanisms to address sexual violence has resulted in some survivors being compelled to marry the perpetrator or face retaliation.
I commend the Government’s efforts to put in place a more protective legal and policy framework for women, girls and boys at risk, and urge the full implementation thereof, with particular attention being given to rural and remote communities and to combating impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence. I reiterate the importance of an inclusive Afghan-led peace process with the meaningful participation of women, young people and minorities and call for the creation of the spaces for women to actively participate in all levels of decision-making so as to solidify gains made and enhance women’s rights