Elusive Justice: Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary of Afghanistan’s Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women

Hakimi, Mehdi J. |

The Taliban’s fall in 2001 elevated hopes for improving the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan. Those aspirations were bolstered with the promulgation of the country’s landmark Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) in 2009. The tenth anniversary of Afghanistan’s EVAW Law, however, offers little cause for celebration. This essay examines Afghanistan’s legal framework on combating gender-based violence against women, and the mounting challenges on the ground. The ongoing rampant violence against women, pervasive use of mediation in criminal cases, and violations perpetrated by State agents have made Afghan women’s quest for justice increasingly more elusive. These breaches of the State’s due diligence obligations under international law constitute human rights violations. As women remain effectively sidelined in the peace negotiations with a resurgent Taliban, the Afghan government and the international community cannot solely talk the talk, but must also walk the walk of confronting violence against women.