Legal Analysis of Sexual Harassment of Women in Afghanistan


  • Hadia AZIZI



Sexual Harassment of Women, Violence Against Women, Women’s Human Rights


This study legally analyzed the reasons behind sexual harassment of women in Afghanistan and its day-by-day increase in academic, educational and public places, As well as responded to the question, “how can Afghanistan prevent sexual harassment of women within a reformed legal framework by drawing viable solutions from the international framework?”

This study analyzed Important legal issues and inadequacies of Afghanistan's legal framework, like legal provisions, the judiciary system of Afghanistan, informal justice, mediation, women’s access to justice, and sentencing regarding sexual harassment of women in Afghanistan, and compared them to the international legal framework.

The descriptive and analytical methods are used in this research by describing the national and international legal texts and laws considered and presenting their legal provisions. Data sources are both primary and secondary. Primary sources include national and international legal texts, law provisions, court decisions and cases. Secondary sources include books, journal articles, websites, newspaper clippings, and various reports. The citation style in the footnotes and bibliography is OSCOLA referencing style.

As a result and outcome of this study, I found out that there are critical legal problems in Afghanistan’s legal framework from different aspects that cause an increase in the overall situation of Women's Human rights violations as well as the sexual harassment of women in Afghanistan and Finally after the compare of the national legal framework with the international framework, Important recommendations and remedies were drawn out from the International legal framework to have a better and reformed National framework for Afghanistan, especially in regard of respect, protection and fulfilment of women’s rights.



Afghanistan legislation statutes

The Afghanistan Constitution, 1964.

The Afghanistan constitution, 2004.

The Afghanistan penal code 2017

The Afghanistan Law on Elimination of violence against women (LEVAW) 2009

Sharia Laws.

The Afghanistan Customary Law and tribal code.

Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Strategy and National Action Plan on the elimination of Violence against women.

International legislation statutory instruments

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 2000.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979.

Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993.

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111) of 1958 – ILO.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1996.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966.

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 169) – ILO.

Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of violence against women (Belem do Para), 1994.

Southern African Development Community Protocol on Gender and Development, in article 22, 2015.

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, 2003.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention), 2011.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.

Violence and harassment convention (No.190) 2019 – ILO.

Asia Foundation, ´A Survey of the Afghan People: Afghanistan in 2018´ (Report, 2018)[.access date15 May 2021.

Bank World, Compendium of International and National Legal Frameworks on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (1st edition edn, World bank 2019).

General Assembly resolution 48104 on the declaration on the elimination of violence against women, art 2 (b).

International Crisis Group (ICG), Reforming Afghanistan’s Broken Judiciary (Asia Report N195, November 2010).

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences, on Her Mission to Afghanistan’ [2014]: UN Doc A/HRC/29/27/Add.310.

Rashida Manjoo, 'Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences' [2006] The Due Diligence Standard as a Tool for the Elimination of VAW.

United Nations office of the high commissioner for Human rights, ‘Justice through the Eyes of Afghan Women: Cases of Violence against Women Addressed through Mediation and Court Adjudication’, [2015].

United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences 1996.

UNAMA, Justice through the Eyes of Afghan Women 2015: Cases of Violence against Women Addressed through Mediation and Court Adjudication.

Yakın Ertürk, 'Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences' [2006] The Due Diligence Standard as a Tool for the Elimination of VAW.

Coburn, Noah, and John Dempsey, United States Institute of Peace Special Report 2010, “Informal Dispute Resolution in Afghanistan.”

Agnes F, Negotiating Spaces. Legal Domains, Gender Concerns, and Community Constructs, New Delhi: (Oxford University Press 2012).

Anthony A, Handbook of International Law (2nd edn, Cambridge 2007).

Bassiouni M, The Pursuit of International Criminal Justice: A World Study on Conflicts, Victimization, and Post-Conflict Justice (1st edn, Antwerp: Intersentia 2010).

Beverley H, An International Perspective on Sexual Harassment Law (5th edn, Minnesota 1994).

Chaudary T, Promoting Women’s Rights in Afghanistan: The Ambiguous Footprint of the West” In A Liberal Peace? The Problems and Practices of Peacebuilding (1st edn, London Zed Books 2011).

Dinah S, The Oxford Handbook of International Human rights law (1st edn, Oxford University Press 2013) 87344.

Fitzgerald I, Perceptions of sexual harassment: The influence of Gender and Academic Context, Psychology of women Quarterly (15th edn, London Zed Books 1991).

Joseph S “Law and Justice” In the Cambridge History of Islam (vol.2B, Cambridge University Press 1970).

Matteo T, State-building and Justice Reform, Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Afghanistan (Oxon: Routledge 2010).

MacKinnon C, Directions In Sexual Harassment Law, (Yale University Press, New Haven 2004).

Morgan P, Sexual Harassment: Violence Against Women At Work (From Source Book on Violence Against Women, 2001).

Neamatollah N, The Rise and fall of the Taliban” In The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan (1st edn, Edited by Robert D Crews and Amin Tarzi 2008).

Olivier De S, International Human Rights Law (1st edn, Cambridge 2010).

Qaane E, Harassment of Women in Afghanistan: A hidden phenomenon addressed in too many laws (2nd edn, Afghanistan Analyst Network 2017).

Tim L, WOMEN’S ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN AFGHANISTAN individual versus community barriers to justice (2nd edn, United states institution of peace 2014).

Torunn W, THE PITFALLS OF PROTECTION, gender violence and power in Afghanistan (1st edn, University of California Press 2017).

UN Women, Handbook for Legislation on Violence against Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for the Advancement of Women1st 2010).

Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović V, International Standards on Domestic Violence and Their Implementation in the Western Balkans (Prometej Belgrade, 2006).

York M, An International Perspective on Sexual Harassment Law (2nd edn, LFB Scholarly Publication 2011).

Ali W and John Braithwaite, 'Crime and War in Afghanistan, Part II: Jeffersonian Alternative? ' [2013] 53(2) British Journal of Criminology.

Ali W, 'State and Non-State Justice Systems in Afghanistan: The Need for Synergy' [2014] 32(5) University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law.

Ali W, 'Building a Post-War Justice System in Afghanistan' [2004] 41(4) Crime, Law and Social Change.

Brewis J, ’Foucault, politics and organizations: reconstructing sexual harassment’, Gender Work and Organization, [Vol. 8(1), 2001].

Cheshmak F, 'CEDAW and Afghanistan ' [2009] 11(1) Journal of International Women’s Studies.

Coburn, Noah, and John Dempsey 2010 “Informal Dispute Resolution in Afghanistan” United States Institute of Peace Special Report.

Deborah j S, Community-Based Dispute Resolution Processes in Nangarhar Province (1st edn 2009).

Habib Abiwallstr, 'TV Host Targets Afghan Women’s Shelters', Wall Street Journal [2011] 1(2).

Kandiyoti D, 'Old Dilemmas or New Challenges? The Politics of Gender and Reconstruction in Afghanistan' [2007] 38(2) Development and change.

Marvin g W, 'Legal Elites in Afghan Society' [1980] 12(1) International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Qazi zada S, 'Legislative, institutional and policy reforms to combat violence against women in Afghanistan' [2021] 59(1-4) Indian Journal of International Law.

Qazi Zada S, Breach of Afghanistan’s international obligations using the due diligence standard to combat violence against women, The International Journal of Human Rights, DOI: [2021]: 10.1080/13642987.2021.1895764.

Romana Asmat, 'International Laws and Policies for Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace' [2016] 2(2) International Research Journal of Interdisciplinary & Multidisciplinary Studies (IRJIMS).

Singh D, 'Explaining varieties of corruption in the Afghan Justice Sector' [2015] 9:2(231-255) Journal of Intervention and State building.

‘A door-to-door hunt for girls as young as 12: Taliban in Afghanistan looking for sex slaves, indicate reports’, (OpIndia,25 april 2022) < > accessed 01 My 2022.

‘Afghanistan: Sexual Assaults Go Unpunished, (Human Rights Watch, 12 February 2020)< > accessed 22 April 2022.

Afghanistan: FIFA Sexual Abuse Investigations Stall’, (, 19 August 2019)< > accessed 22 April 2022

Baczko A, ‘How the Taliban Justice System Contributed to their Victory in Afghanistan’, (social science research council, 26 October 2021), < > accessed 13 December 2021.

Bagga A, 'Global Health Private Limited Vs Local Complaints Committee, District Indore and others- SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORK PLACE' (Pushatwork, 20 may) < > accessed 15 May 2021.

‘CEDAW General Discussion on Women and Access to Justice' (WILPF, 22 February 2013) < > accessed 13 May 2021.

‘Dispatches: Afghanistan’s Legal System Fails Farkhunda, Again’, (Human rights watch, 9 March 2016)< > , accessed 22 April 2022.

Gul A, 'Taliban Say They Will Use Parts of Monarchy Constitution to Run Afghanistan for Now' (VOA Dari, Afghanistan, 28 September 2021) < > accessed 16 November 2022.

'How the Taliban Justice System Contributed to their Victory in Afghanistan' (Social science research council, 26 October 2021) < > accessed 13 November 2021.

‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’, (United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, 03, Mach 2016 ) <>, access date 15 May 2021.

Ibrahim A, ‘The Taliban and Islamic law in Afghanistan’,(Aljazeera news 23 August 2021) <> accessed 19 December 2021.

‘Justice System Failing Women’, (Human Rights Watch, Afghanistan, 14 January 2021) < >, accessed 20 July 2021.

'List of Taliban Policies Violating Women’s Rights in Afghanistan' (Human rights watch, 29 September 2021) < > accessed 4 October 2021.

‘List of Taliban Policies Violating Women’s Rights in Afghanistan’, (Human Rights Watch, 29 September 2021), < >, accessed 04 October 2021.

‘List of Taliban Policies Violating Women’s Rights in Afghanistan’, (Human Rights Watch, 18 October 2021), < > , accessed 25 October 2021

Nigel C, 'Make justice a priority' (Human rights plus, 7 October 2020) <,the%20victim%2C%20in%20any%20setting%2C > accessed 23 May 2022 .

‘New Afghan Law Targets Sexual Harassment’, (Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 8 March 2017), < >, accessed 28 August 2021.

Office Un, 'Ratification Status for Afghanistan' (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 4 march 2019) < > accessed 15 July 2021.

‘Rule of Law in Afghanistan’, United States Institute of Peace, (Web Page, 2016) programs/rule-law-afghanistan-0[ , (access date October 28, 2021).

Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 'Murdder of farkhunda malikzada' (Wikipedia, 19 March 2015) < > accessed 22 April 2022.

'Sexual Harassment' (The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, London, 14 may 2019) <,degrading%2C%20humiliating%20or%20offensive%20environment > accessed 8 august 2021.

'Statement on the occasion of International Transgender Day of Visibility' (The IACHR and a UN expert urge States to guarantee the full exercise of the human rights of transgender persons, United Nations Human Rights office of the high commissioner, 1march 2017) < > accessed 18 august 2021.

‘STRUCTURE OF JUDICIAL SYSTEM’, (Afghanistan supreme court website)< >, accessed 25 August 2021.

‘STRUCTURE OF JUDICIAL SYSTEM’, (Afghanistan supreme court website), < >, accessed 25 August 2021.

'Taliban to implement monarch-era Constitution in Afghanistan’' (World Asia Pacific, 28 September 2021) < > accessed 14 December 2021

‘Teats and fear cause Afghan women’s protection to vanish overnight’,(Newyork Times) <> accessed date 19 December 2021.

‘12 Million Angry Men-The Taliban promised justice and they are hard-pressed to provide it’, (FP Insider 28 October 2021),<> accessed 19 December 2021.

‘There was blood everywhere’, (, 27 December 2018) < > Access date 22 April 2022.

‘taliban leader orders 'women's rights', (BBC NEWS Persian, 3 December 2021), < >, access date 14 December 2021.

‘taliban ban women's sports’, (, 09 September 2021), < >, accessed 25 October 2021.

UK UNHCR, 'What is Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment?' (The Un refugee agency, 15 December 2020) < > accessed 23 May 2022.

Women Un, 'Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women'' (UN Women , 25 February 2019) < > ccessed 15 May 2021.




How to Cite

AZIZI , H. (2022). Legal Analysis of Sexual Harassment of Women in Afghanistan. WORLD WOMEN STUDIES JOURNAL, 7(1), 65–88.