The Meeting Report of the Protecting Women and Standardized Forensic Examination Advocacy Group
24 August 2020
On Monday August 24, 2020, the monthly meeting of the protecting women and standardized forensic examination advocacy group was conducted online with the participation group member under the administration of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. In the meeting Ms. Shabnam Salihi, the commissioner of Independent Human Rights Commission, Ms. Latifa Sultani, the coordinator women of AIHRC, Lida Ahamadi, project manager, Ms. Zahra Muhammadi, the Program office of AFSO, Ms. Mursal Mujahid from Organization of Women for Women and Mohammad Ashraf Bakhtyari, the Executive Director of AFSO were participated.
Protecting Women and Standardized Forensic Examination Advocacy Group is a national network consisting of 20 national and international organizations that was established in 2015 in Kabul. This group was created with the aim of protecting women against non-scientific and non-standardized examinations. The group has worked consistently on launching advocacy programs, awareness raising, capacity building, amending laws, legal and psychological assistance, and improving forensic education materials.
Details of the Report
The meeting started around 01:00 PM with the speech of commissioner of the Independent Human Rights Commission. Ms. Shabnam Salehi first welcomed all the members and then set the agenda for the meeting, discussing and presenting the members’ suggestions regarding Article 640 of the Penal Code.
Ms. Shabnam Salehi, the AIHRC’s commissioner, said that the cabinet had convened a meeting on article 640 of penal code on August 17, 2020. At this meeting the cabinet was to removed the word “or” from item two of Article 640 of the Penal Code and add the word “and” instead. It has also set up a special committee in this regard, which includes the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Public Health. The AIHRC has sent a letter and instructed the committee that the commission should be a member to work on its next amendment. The Commission shall endeavor to bring about a definitive prohibition on examinations under this article.
Ms. Salehi said that at the end of the cabinet meeting, the AIHRC had a meeting with the head of the head of “Ansejam” and in this meeting, the head of the “Ansejam” said that many improvements can be seen in Article 640 of the Penal Code because we changed from one condition to two conditions. Prior to the consent of the victim or the court order with jurisdiction, but we adjusted to the consent of the victim and the court order. He also said that if we had taken the two articles, the court would not have accepted it. The Supreme Court reason is that the rights of many victims who consent to this examination are being violated.
Yalda Ahmadi, the Medica Afghanistan Project Manager, said that it is a really good achievement that a special committee has been set up in this regard and I hope that the AIHRC can become a member of this committee so that we can share our ideas and suggestions with the committee.
Finally, we come to the conclusion that these examinations are illegal and should be banned altogether. Regarding the request document that Medica Afghanistan had sent to the Law Committee and the Judiciary Committee of the second Vice President, they responded to this document, which was decided in the previous meeting. In addition, the Legal Board of the Cabinet advised us to send this document to this committee again through the above authority so that the committee would take this issue seriously and discuss it again.
Mohammad Ashraf Bakhtiari, executive director of the AFSO, first thanked them for providing information on the cabinet decision, and then referred to remarks made by Commissioner and Ms. Ahmadi. He said it was very good that the Cabinet Legislative Committee had reviewed Article 640 of the Penal Code.
My suggestion is that the article itself be divided into two, or that another item should be added to this article so that the examination of the hymen is strictly forbidden in adultery cases, and in the case of rape, this examination is performed along with a physical examination, subject to a court order and the victim’s consent. Because according to the principles of medical ethics, every organ of the body is to be examined and permission must be obtained, otherwise it is a violation of the principles of medical ethics. The doctor is in no way allowed to perform this examination without the consent of the victim, the accused, the suspect or the patient.
My other suggestion is that it should be checked once who is a member of this committee. Separate meetings should be held with the committee members when the pros and cons of the committee are known. Let each of these open their minds. Let’s get to know them in depth. Let us know more about the consequences of this examination. Regarding Ms. Ahmadi’s concern, he said that it is legally required to send this document to the office of the President and ask them to definitely prohibit these examinations or to send it to the relevant parliamentary commission and have meetings and discussions with the members of the commission. Of course, it should be noted that a number of MPs agree with our goal. At least have meetings with them.
End of the meeting
At, a decision was made that banning virginity examinations is the mission of all members of the working group and everyone is working to prevent this examination. . Medica Afghanistan once again submits the position paper to the Cabinet Legislative Committee through the above authority, and a working group chaired by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission follows its meetings.