(Aashima Samuel, the National Director of EFIC@R, interviewed by CEDAR)
“In Indian villages, when we and church pastors advocated anti-child trafficking, some Hindi nationalists accused us of, or even attacked us for ‘brainwashing’ villagers to convert them into Christians. In fact, among them, there were traffickers slandering us to extinguish our anti-trafficking voice,” said Aashima Samuel, the National Director of Evangelical Fellowship of India Children At Risk (EFIC@R), CEDAR’s partner.
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.
[ePrayer – Pray for development rights of adolescent girls]
There are over 600 million girls in the world today, more than 500 million of them in developing countries. About 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year. Another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions. The vast majority — 90 per cent — of the pregnant adolescents in the developing world are married. But for far too many of these girls, pregnancy has little to do with informed choice. Often it is a consequence of discrimination, rights violations (including child marriage), inadequate education or sexual coercion. Complications from pregnancy and child birth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19. On World Population Day 2013, UN raises awareness of the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. [UN]
Pray for development rights of adolescent girls:
Pray that the value and rights of girls will be truly recognised and legally protected.
Pray that adolescent girls can have their say on marriage, life development and pregnancy.
South Sudan marks two years of independence on 9 July 2013, but the millions who continue to face displacement, hunger, disease and extreme poverty will be hard pressed to find any reason to celebrate.
Over the past two years, inter-communal violence and conflict between the rebels and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) have caused nearly 350,000 people displaced. Fighting in southern part of Sudan has forced over 220,000 people fleeing into South Sudan. In addition, nearly two million South Sudanese have returned home since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, and so the country is facing serious food shortage. Further, South Sudan is in dire need of trained health workers and health centres and the government has faced criticism over its poor human rights record, such as poor prison conditions, widespread child and forced marriage, arbitrary detention and deteriorating press freedom. [IRIN]
Pray for South Sudan:
Pray for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan;
Pray for timely food and medical relief, and for comprehensive and appropriate rehabilitation.