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The Killid Group
Self-immolation on the rise in HeratWritten by Behnam Fardis
Saturday, 07 May 2011 11:20
Cases of self-immolation by women registered at a hospital in Herat city increased by 35 percent in 2010 compared to a year before as human rights activists blame domestic violence and lack of access to justice as the main causes.
The burns ward at the 600-bed hospital in Herat city, western Afghanistan, has turned into a hub of women who have either set themselves ablaze or burned by a cruel member of their family. At least 90 badly burned women were brought to the ward for life-saving treatment last year - a 35 percent increase in the number of victims compared to 2009, according to hospital officials. Amina, 18, was burned by her husband in Herat's Oba District but her life was saved by doctors in the city hospital. "Her husband was a violent man who always beat Amina. One day he poured petrol on her body and set her ablaze to kill her," said Jamila, Amina's cousin who brought the ill-fated woman to the hospital. Domestic violence, forced marriage, poverty and other socio-economic problems force an increasing number of women to commit self-immolation in a desperate effort to end their miseries, women's rights organizations say.
"Self-immolation among women has reached to shocking levels," warned Aziza Khair Andish, director of the Afghan Women's Network in Herat. About 95 burn cases were registered at the provincial hospital in 2010 of which five were men and the rest were women, according to records shown to Killid.
"Most of the victims were young females, 18-24 of age, and most wanted to burn themselves to death," said Mohammad Rafiq Shirzai, a spokesman of the hospital, adding that a majority of the victims lost their lives due to severe burns or late arrival to the hospital.
About 25 percent of the patients were from other provinces, 6 percent were from Herat city and the rest came from different districts, officials said.
Local officials said they were trying to raise public awareness about legal ways to solve issues of violence against women and in a bid to deter women from committing self-immolation.
"Any kind of suicide is strictly forbidden in Islam," said Abdul Qayum Faouqi, a religious scholar who said he was preaching against self-immolation by women.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says some women turn to self-immolation and other forms of suicide because courts and prosecutors let them down and fail to solve their problems.
Saturday, 07 April 2012 06:33 |
This violence against ladies is a social problem. Social workers, the police force and the justice department have to tackle it jointly.