CEDAR’s partner in Afghanistan set up women self-help group for marginalised women. Besides savings, the members also learn about about health and hygiene
Afghanistan is one of the most challenging places for women to live deemed by human rights organisations.
The bodies of women are conceived as culturally obscene. A grown woman must wear a head cover, and in traditional families, a burqa, covering them from head to toe and leaving them just a tiny mesh screen to see the outside world.
Even the names of women are disapproved of, it is a disgrace for men to call their wives by their name; hence, the wives are addressed as “someone’s mother/daughter”, “my chicken”, or “my goat”. Women’s names are not even allowed to be written on their gravestones. 
Since the severe earthquake that occurred at the end of October in Northern Afghanistan hillside, relief efforts continue. This earthquake had caused landslide, and over 13,000 houses were damaged. Over a thousand had been injured and 200 had perished, most of them were children and women.
CEDAR partner in Pakistan, Pak Mission Society (PMS) expresses concern over the coming winter. As the damaged area had been poor, and far from urban area, meteorologists say that the cold weather will only worsen the situation.
A new law that banned relatives from testifying against each other was passed by parliament in Afghanistan last month. It awaits final signature from President Hamid Karzai but arouses many concerns. However, Hamid Karzai has recently ordered changes to the draft legislation that would have silenced victims of violence. It may signal a new turn.
The new criminal code, passed by the conservative-dominated Afghan parliament, will prevent relatives of alleged abusers from testifying against them. The consequence is making prosecutions more difficult on domestic violence against women, where relatives are often the only witnesses.
Afghanistan in 2009 enacted its “Elimination of Violence Against Women law” (EVAW) which criminalises domestic violence, forced and child marriage, women persecution, practices that use females to settle disputes, assault and more than a dozen other acts of violence and abuse against women. This new Afghan law is thus a backward step in the advance towards justice.
Afghan women faced unfair treatment when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001. It is expected that this situation will be improved after the fall of the Taliban. Yet, according to various surveys, women’s rights are still at risk. It is believe that it is an attack on women’s rights if no amendments are made. [Guardian, BBC, UN]
It is the final poem of Dirtrich Bonhoeffer in 1944 and later transcribed into a hymn. This is a part of its lyrics:
‘Wonderfully secured by good powers, confidently we expect what may come. God is among us in the evening and in the morning and [so] completely certainly on each new day.’
Afghan women suffer from many difficulties, and their rights and contributions are ignored. They can only strive for their lives. It will be a long journey to see that their situations are improved. May we persist in the faith and hope in our Almighty God and constantly remember them in prayers.
Pray for Afghan government and women, that:
Afghan government amends the legislation code to allow relatives testifying each other so those acting violence against women can be penalized;
Afghanistan makes efforts to improve its justice and human rights so women and girls’ rights are secured and legalized;
Afghan women will gain rights and access to education, work and decision making, developing their talents and living out their value of life and dignity.
[ ‘SHARE’ Sept-Oct 2013 – Myanmar – A Beam after the War Flame ] FOCUS ~ Country Development
The Lisu pastor serving the displaced in the camp
Author: Lisa CHAI, Senior Programme Officer
Habakkuk 1: 2- 3
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. (NIV)
For decades the Myanmar government armed forces and opposing non-state armed groups have engaged in armed conflict. The frequent occurrence and brutality of reported human rights violations by these armed forces caused us to cry out like Prophet Habakkuk. Why do the innocent suffer and perish? We ask God to intervene yet violence and abuses prevail. Over the years CEDAR has supported partners operating in conflict affected areas in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, just to name a few. I am reminded by the book of Habakkuk that in face of conflict situation, we may be perplexed yet God is continuing His work. In the midst of violence and destruction, development is possible.
[ePrayer – Pray for the situation of undocumented children]
It is estimated that there are between 1.6 and 3.8 million irregular migrants in the European Union. Many of them are children. Most come from other European countries like Turkey, Hungary and Romania, but a large number also come from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The reason for migration includes family reunification, protection from persecution, better living conditions, education and economic opportunities. A large number of these undocumented children, mostly from Hungary and Romania, are also victims of trafficking. They can be exploited in prostitution, forced labour, organised begging and can be compelled to commit crimes. [IPS]
Pray for the situation of undocumented children:
Pray that the basic human rights of these Europe’s ‘invisible’ children can be protected.
Pray also that they can have access to education, healthcare and shelter.
Pray that there can be effective measures to combat human trafficking and to reduce the risk of children.