KABUL, Afghanistan, July 9 (UPI) -- Suspected rapists in Afghanistan enjoy cultural and judicial leniency while their victims suffer from social stigma, U.N. human-rights officials say.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in a report on the rape climate in Afghanistan says the judicial system in Afghanistan lacks provisions necessary to protect women and children, while the cultural norms often shame the victims.
"There is an urgent need to criminalize rape in Afghan laws," said Norah Niland, the OHCHR representative in Afghanistan.
Afghan custom employs a practice known as "Baad" to decriminalize rape. A girl from the family of the rapist is handed over to the victim's family for marriage in order to cover the crime.
The judicial and social norms surrounding rape in Afghanistan are a lingering cause for concern as the country moves toward reform.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered lawmakers in April to revise a controversial "rape law" imposed on the Shiite minority amid international condemnation.
Karzai claimed he was unaware of provisions in the 700-page Shiite Personal Status Law that mandated that women accept sexual advances from their husbands as a marital obligation, ordering the removal of any provisions that were not consistent with Afghan women's rights laws.