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Afghan protection law failing women, U.N.'s Pillay says

Burqa clad Afghan woman pass by U.S. soldiers, as world observes International Women's Day, in Herat Afghanistan on March 8, 2010. Afghanistan's independent human rights watchdogs and civil society organizations are reporting that gender violence has reached an alarming level in the country and efforts must be redoubled to tackle it. UPI/Hossein Fatemi
Burqa clad Afghan woman pass by U.S. soldiers, as world observes International Women's Day, in Herat Afghanistan on March 8, 2010. Afghanistan's independent human rights watchdogs and civil society organizations are reporting that gender violence has reached an alarming level in the country and efforts must be redoubled to tackle it. UPI/Hossein Fatemi | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Afghanistan efforts to enforce a law designed to protect violence against women are "slow and uneven," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

Pillay, commenting on a U.N. report on the effectiveness of the law, said:

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"The landmark law on the elimination of violence against women was a huge achievement for all Afghans, but implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices, and prosecutors and courts slow to enforce the legal protections in the law."

The report was published jointly Saturday by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The law, enacted in 2009, is meant to curb forced self-immolation, child marriage, rape and dozens of other acts of violence against women.

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