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Afghanistan: Concluding Observations by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (3-21 May 2010)
Highlights from the Report
16. The Committee notes with concern that the traditional dispute resolution mechanisms which absorbs more cases of dispute that the formal judicial system, is not compatible with the human rights standards, including the Covenant rights. The Committee regrets the fact that the rights of women and children, as well as those of nomadic tribes and the poorest sectors of society, are particularly affected by the lack of access to formal justice mechanisms.
The Committee urges the State party to take effective measures to guarantee that the traditional dispute resolution mechanisms are fully compatible with international human rights standards, including the Covenant rights. The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to ensure access for the population to the formal judicial system and take adequate measures to build the trust of the population in the formal judicial system.
18. The Committee, is concerned at the fact that women continue to face discrimination in many domains, due to the pervasive social, political and economic discrimination against women, the insecurity in the country and the persistence of stereotypes and customary practices that marginalize them, in spite the efforts deployed by the State party to promote gender equality. The Committee regrets the discrepancy between the legal framework and the inequality in practice, in sectors such as work, public life, education and health. It is particularly concerned at the fact that some provisions of the Shia Personal Status Law remain discriminatory against women, including with regard to guardianship, inheritance, under age marriages, as well as limitations on movements outside the home. (Articles 2 and 3)
The Committee requests the State party to take more stringent and effective legal and practical measures, including through the use of the media and education, to address the historical discrimination and inequality, cultural barriers and patriarchal attitudes to counter inequality between the sexes and discrimination against women, as required by article 2, paragraph 2, and article 3 of the Covenant. In this regard, it urges the State party to fully harmonize the domestic law, including the Shia Personal Status Law, with international human rights standards. In this regard, the Committee draws the State party’s attention to the general comment No. 16 (2005) on the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee also recommends that the State party develop and implement a national public awareness campaign, aimed at both women and men, including community leaders.
19. The Committee, while noting that the State party has introduced a temporary quota in favour of women for the Parliament and Provincial Council, remains concerned at the low level of women’s representation in decisions making positions in Afghanistan. (Article 3)
The Committee recommends that the State party promote equal the participation of women in decisions making processes, in particular peace-building and reconciliation processes, and take temporal special measures to redress gender imbalance in society in line with article 3 of the Covenant.