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Rights Watchdog Says Afghan Policewomen Suffer Sexual Harassment

Female Afghan police officers with a commanding officer during a shooting exercise at a shooting range at the Afghan National Police Academy in Kabul in December 2012.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said Afghan female police officers suffer from widespread sexual harassment in their workplace.

HRW on April 25 cited "numerous" media reports of the rape of female officers by male colleagues.

It attributed the abuse to the lack of women-only toilets and changing facilities for female staff at police stations in Afghanistan.

In a statement, the New York-based group said addressing the concerns of female police officers was necessary to address the "rampant violence" against women in the country as a whole.

The group also said employing more female police officers would improve access for Afghan women to report violence and pursue justice in the conservative society.

Afghan women make up an estimated 1 percent of the 152,000-strong national police force.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP