The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2018/250) issued on 16 April 2018. Reporting of and response efforts to sexual violence across Afghanistanremained limited, owing to instability, inadequate services, access constraints,discriminatory cultural practices and a climate of impunity in which those who defendwomen’s rights face threats from the Taliban and other anti-Government elements. In2017, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented53 cases of sexual violence against women and girls, of which 3 were verified asconflict-related sexual violence committed by members of illegal armed groups andthe local police. UNAMA also verified four cases of sexual violence against boys,three by members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and one bymembers of the Taliban, including incidents of bacha bazi, a practice involving thesexual abuse of boys by men in positions of power. UNAMA received a further78 credible allegations of bacha bazi that could not be verified due to the sensitivitiesinvolved. Efforts led by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commissionresulted in the criminalization of the practice in the revised Penal Code, which enteredinto force in February 2018. The revised legislation also incorporates provisions thatbring the definition of rape closer to aligning with international standards, rectifyingthe prior conflation of rape with adultery, which had discouraged reporting. With regard to response, a major challenge is that women still comprise just1.8 per cent of the Afghan National Police. In October, the Ministry of Interior Affairsinaugurated separate station facilities, including interview rooms, for female officersin Herat and Kabul as part of efforts to recruit and retain more women. The Ministryhas also taken steps to develop a complaints mechanism for reporting sexualharassment, assaults and threats against female officers. Following the 2015 launchof its national action plan on Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), theGovernment tabled a budget for implementation that includes measures to addresssexual violence.
I urge the Government to reinforce the capacity of its justice and security sectorto provide accountability for crimes of sexual violence, including by vetting thearmed and police forces for suspected perpetrators and increasing the representationof women. I further call upon the Government to allocate adequate resources for theimplementation of its national action plan and to put into place comprehensivemeasures to implement its revised Penal Code.