GENEVA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Violence against women in Afghanistan, including so-called "honor killings," often goes unpunished, despite government efforts to criminalize these practices, a latest UN report says.
The report, published earlier this week, found that victims are often pressured into agreeing to mediation, instead of the alleged perpetrator being brought to trial.
"The wide use of mediation when a woman or girl has been beaten, mutilated or murdered, or when she has been the victim of that awful concept of 'honor killing,' normalizes such violence and makes it much more likely to recur," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in the report.
The report is published by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Zeid warned that the harmful mediation "also erodes the confidence of women -- and the wider public -- in the legal system."
The UN report is based on 237 documented cases of violence against women between Aug. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2017, 280 cases of murder and "honor killings" in 2016 and 2017 and focus group discussions with 1,826 mediators.
Women interviewed for the report said they often faced intense pressure from family, community members and the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) Law institutions that mediation was the only acceptable choice for the resolution of violent crime as it would preserve family unity.
Among its recommendations, the report calls for an expansion of the authorities' obligation to investigate and prosecute criminal offenses of violence against women.
This should apply particularly to forced marriages and harmful traditional practices, irrespective of whether the victim filed or withdrew a complaint.