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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Afghan women call for peace, justice

Sun, 08 Mar 2009 18:08:15 GMT | PressTV

Afghan women have attended a ceremony in Kabul to mark the International Women's Day and call for peace and justice in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of women attended the ceremony which was held under the auspices of the UN on Sunday.

The event was also attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who condemned forced marriage and urged Afghan men not to marry off their daughters to men several decades older.

“It's very cruel that our traditions and social practices force girls to get married in their childhood or to make up for debts,” said President Karzai.

Forced marriages are a great concern in Afghanistan. Afghan girls are frequently married off to resolve disputes or to pay debts.

The Afghan government has reported over 10,000 cases of self-immolation by girls, who were trying to escape forced marriages and domestic violence in 2008.

Karzai also said that the reconciliation process is necessary to help eradicate mounting violence in the war-torn country that has reached a record level since the 2001 invasion.

The country's tumultuous situation is preventing girls from attending school. Girls account for 35 percent of Afghan students but their number has been decreasing due to attacks on girls' schools.

UN reports say the attacks have increased from 236 cases in 2007 to 293 in 2008.

“Violence against women in our country is increasing and we expect proper measures to be taken in this regard. This is not acceptable and we strongly condemn this,” an Afghan mother of two told a Press TV correspondent.

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