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Self-immolation among Afghan women rises

Last Updated: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 10:58

Washington: An alarming number of Afghan women are setting themselves on fire in a desperate attempt to escape abuse, torture and domestic violence, human rights officials have said.

While some want to die, others simply hope their faces and bodies are so badly disfigured that their worth will plummet, and families and husbands who view them as commodities won’t care enough to beat them any longer.

Many even resort to self-immolation the night before they’re forced into a marriage, hoping the wedding will be called off, the New York Daily News reports.

According to the report, nearly as many are forced to lie about it when or if they’re brought to a hospital.

“I was in the kitchen cooking meat in a pressure cooker. Suddenly it exploded,” 16-year-old Taranna told ABC’s "20/20”, white bandages covering her burnt skin from head to toe.

Doctors who reviewed Taranna claimed that the teen wasn’t burned by a gas explosion, but by flame, likely, self-inflicted.

In approximately the past decade, women have regained voting and education rights in Afghanistan, but abuse is still widespread, the report said.

The burgeoning number of women resorting to self–immolation has now prompted the United Nations (UN), which this week called for Afghan officials to enforce the 2009 Elimination of Violence against Women (EWAW) law, the report added.

The law criminalises child marriage, forced marriage, buying and selling women, rape and beating, the report concluded.


First Published: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 10:58

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