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This article was published 27/3/2015 (1968 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
More than 1,300 murdered and missing aboriginal women in Canada. Hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Thousands of women and girls raped by fighting factions in Congo. The latest atrocity to make international headlines -- a woman beaten to death by a mob in the streets of Afghanistan's capital -- has women in Winnipeg taking to the streets.
"This shouldn't happen anywhere in the world," said Ariana Yaftali, who has organized a rally tonight at 6 p.m. at the legislature to pay respects to the woman named Farkhunda. The 27-year-old religious scholar was slain March 19 after being falsely accused of burning a Qur'an.
"This is something that's impacting all of us -- you don't have to be Afghan," said Yaftali. "This was in the heart of Kabul city," said the refugee and counsellor who has "beautiful memories" of Kabul as a young girl before the Taliban took power and she and her family fled.
'This shouldn't happen anywhere in world'‐ Ariana Yaftali
"I'm still trying to comprehend how come no one was there to save her."
That kind of violence toward women and society's indifference to it is all too familiar to aboriginal women here and those who've seen it in places such as Nigeria and Congo, she said. Tonight they're gathering to stand up for women.
"Everybody's coming to show their support. It's about ending men's violence toward women," Yaftali said.
Governments need to be called to account for the way they are or are not protecting women and going after their abusers, she said.
Canada has been one of Afghanistan's major donors, Yaftali said. Since 2002, Canada has provided more than $2 billion in development aid to improve the lives and safety of Afghanistan's women and children. From 2002 to 2011, 158 Canadian Forces members were killed there in the line of duty.
"We've provided troops and lost troops for the sake of the security and safety of Afghanistan, but they haven't come up with some strategy to prevent violence toward women."
In 2009, Afghanistan enacted the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women. It criminalizes acts of violence against women and harmful practices including child marriage, forced marriage, forced self-immolation, baad (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute) and 18 other acts of violence against women including rape and beating. It also specifies punishment for perpetrators.
In 2013, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported of an estimated 1,669 incidents of violence against women registered with Departments of Women's Affairs and police and prosecutors, just seven per cent of cases went through a judicial process using the new law.
Yaftali and Mary Scott with the Institute for International Women's Rights-Manitoba wrote to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai this week urging him to uphold the rule of law.
"We want a followup to look into and monitor how this is being implemented in Afghanistan," said Yaftali.
"We are also asking for an inquiry into murdered and missing women in Canada," she said. "It has to be stopped. We are asking for global action."
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, meanwhile, said 28 people were arrested and 13 police officers suspended as part of investigations into Farkhunda's death. Her family said she was attacked after urging women not to waste their money on amulets being sold at a famous Kabul shrine. The men selling the amulets responded by making false accusations that she had torched a Qur'an, which set off the deadly assault, her father told reporters.
-- with file from The Associated Press
Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.
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