Govt urged to criminalise street harassment

BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): A civil society group and local officials have voiced their concern about the increase in street harassment of women and girls in central Bamyan province, urging the government to criminalise the malicious act.
A survey conducted by a women’s rights development organisation in Yakawlang district and Bamyan’s capital found that street harassment had increased over the past three years.
About 300 women interviewed in the survey said there was no concept of street harassment three years ago. A majority of those interviewed were girls from schools and universities. They complained against intimidation and harassment on the streets.
Halima Rezai, a member of the organisation, said the problem of street harassment had considerably become notorious in Bamyan, with women and girls bearing the brunt.
Talking to journalists, she said: “We have conducted this study to find a way out of this problem.”
Her organisation in a statement said the country’s laws did not forbid street harassment and asked the government to criminalise the matter. It also urged judicial organs to deal sternly with the issue.
Zahra Hussaini, a civil society activist in Bamyan, told Pajhwok Afghan News airing movies and serials from different cultures on television networks were a major reason behind the spike.
Tayeba Khawari, the Bamyan provincial council head, said the problem of street harassment had reached the level where it had created problems among families.
In one of such street brawls, she said, more than 10 people were injured and the case was still pending with the attorney’s office.
Khawari was of the opinion that awareness among people could play a key role in tackling the problem.

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