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We need to stop this 10-year-old girl from being killed by her family.

Brishna’s family want her to die for bringing “shame” upon the family. (Note: This is a stock image.)

By GRACE JENNINGS-EDQUIST

Brishna is only 10 years old and she’s survived a brutal rape.

Now, she must live in fear of death too, because her relatives reportedly want to dump her little body in a river for bringing “shame” upon the family.

Amnesty International reports a local mullah has been charged for the rape, while Brishna, from Kunduz Province in Afghanistan’s north, was taken to a shelter run by Women for Afghan Women for protection following the attack.

But local police have since returned the little girl back to her family – so Amnesty International is campaigning for the government to step in and protect Brishna, and to take a strong stance on so-called “honour killings”.

“Honour killings” are horrific murders carried out by family members when a woman or girl is seen as bringing dishonour or embarrassments on a family.

More than 240 cases of these killings were recorded by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission between January 2011 and May 2013, although it’s understood many of the killings are never reported.

Amnesty International gender equality campaigner Ming Yu told Mamamia while Afghanistan does have an Elimination of Violence against Women law, that law “does have a few weaknesses, such as the way so-called honour killings are addressed”.

women in war
“Since the Taliban fell 12-13 years ago theres been huge leaps forward for women’s and girl’s rights but thereks a lot that needs to be done because attacks continue, day in, day out, all around Afghanistan,” Ming Yu told Mamamia. (Photo: Getty)
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Thus, Brishna’s case relies on the Afghan Penal Code — which, shockingly, reduces a sentence for murder in so-called “honour killings” to a term of the maximum of two years.

“Clearly this is something that does need to be addressed,” Ming Yu said. “That is unacceptable.”

She added that since the Taliban fell in 2011 “there’s been huge leaps forward for women’s and girl’s rights” – but that much more work was needed ” because attacks continue, day in, day out, all around Afghanistan“.

“We’ve seen a huge amounts of improvement, but there is a lot of damage that needs to be healed,” she said.

“The new President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani  this is a real opportunity for him to demonstrate his leadership on the global stage, and to show that women’s rights are priority in the future in Afghanistan.”

As for little Brishna, she needs to be kept safe – whether that’s by being returned to the women’s shelter or housed with other relatives.

Police and other authorities also needs to ensure Brishna’s mental and physical safety.

“That could be anything from the Afghan govenrment ensuring there are police that are protecting Brishna… to ensuring she has appropriate social and physical supports,” Ming Yu said.

Overall, however, the government needs to send a strong message to perpetrators that honour killings are unacceptable, Ming Yu said.

“Times are changing in Afghanistan,” she said, “and it’s the perpetrator of that rape, that needs to be punished and women need to be protected.”

You can sign Amnesty International’s petition asking President Ghani to clearly condemn ‘honour’ killings here.

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