Posted by lex, on February 16, 2011
The Afghan government is famously corrupt and ineffectual, a fact that has made winning hearts and minds in the hinterland endlessly challenging. So ordinarily, it would be good to learn of an Afghan government minister finding a suitable target for an anti-corruption campaign.
Afghanistan’s top female official began a sustained verbal assault on women’s shelters on Tuesday, accusing them of corruption and mismanagement, and insisting that the government was determined to take control of them, whether or not donors continue to give financial support.
The shelters, nearly all of them supported by Western charities and governments, provide havens for women and girls fleeing sexual and physical abuse, and give the runaways an alternative to seeking help from the authorities, who often forcibly return them to their families — and sometimes subject them to further abuse.
The new rules would put government officials in charge of the shelters, provide close monitoring of their activities, and could subject unmarried girls in them to virginity tests, critics complain.
“These shelters do not care about the women in them, there are thousands of women living around them and they are not concerned about those women, they are not concerned about these women in the shelters, they are only concerned about their budgets,” said Hussan Ghazanfar, the acting minister of women’s affairs, at a news conference she called to defend the government’s proposed new rules.
Asserting that the country’s 11 registered shelters spent $11 million last year taking care of 210 women, she said that was far more than needed. “This is corruption, you can just count,” Ms. Ghazanfar said, claiming that the entire women’s ministry has a total budget of only $1 million. “The shelters do not need this much money.”
Afghan women’s rights activists dispute Ghazanfar’s claims on funding, and suspect her of shilling for the President Karzai’s campaign of accommodation with the Taliban in advance of a coalition withdrawal.
I just want to rinse of my keyboard, it’s dripping with disgust.
** 05-10-18 Link Changed – Ed.