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UN Calls On Afghan Government To Fight Violence Against Women

A burqa-clad woman begs with her children near a newly constructed building in Kabul.
On the eve of International Women's Day, the human rights director for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has urged the Afghan government to implement laws to eliminate violence against women.

Georgette Gagnon said Afghan officials had rarely invoked a 2009 law that criminalizes forced marriage, child marriage, and the practice of giving women or girls away as a kind of currency to resolve family disputes.

The UN says violence against women and girls remains "pervasive" in Afghanistan, and Afghan authorities have been "inconsistent" in their response.

The UN comments come one day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai backed proposed restrictions by the country's top religious body, the Ulema Council, calling for women to be banned from working or studying with men and to be accompanied by a male relative when traveling.

With dpa reporting