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Words in the News
Wednesday 18 December 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Afghan women
Women's rights in Afghanistan
Summary: An international human rights group says women and girls continue to suffer extreme repression in parts of Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch says it has evidence of increasing abuses, harassment and restrictions of women's rights. This report from Kylie Morris:
   
The News Listen  
  Much of the latest Human Rights Watch report focuses on life for the women of Herat in Afghanistan's west, but warns that the situation there is symptomatic of developments across the country. It speaks of police abuse, forced chastity tests and restrictions reminiscent of the Taleban.

The Human Rights Watch report concedes that women's and girls' rights have improved since the demise of the Taleban, with many now allowed to return to school and university, but the report documents growing repression of social and political life.

In Herat it says religious police, government officials and squads of schoolboys monitor women and girls' behaviour and appearance. The report cites the use of local television and newspapers by the governor Ismail Khan to set standards. Freedom of movement is restricted and when they do leave their homes, women and older girls must wear the all-encompassing burka, or chowdry.

The group has documented testimony from citizens of Herat that women and girls who walk with men on the street, ride with them in cars, or even if alone with them in private homes, have been arrested. That arrest can be followed by a gynaecological examination to determine whether they have recently had sex, or to test for virginity.

Human Rights Watch accuses the international community of double-standards by justifying the war against the Taleban in part by promising liberation to Afghan women and then supporting war-lords and commanders who abuse women's rights.

Kylie Morris, BBC News, Kabul.
 

   
The Words Listen
 
  symptomatic
a sign or indication of a much bigger problem

 
   
  reminiscent
if one thing is reminiscent of another, the first thing reminds you of the second

 
   
  concedes
accepts that something is true

 
   
  demise
the end or death of something

 
   
  squads
small military groups. Here it suggests that schoolboys are behaving like soldiers or the police

 
   
  cites
if you cite something, you quote it as proof of what you are saying

 
   
  to set standards
to set rules for the way people should behave

 
   
  all-encompassing
something that covers everything

 
   
  determine
to discover whether something is true

 
   
  double-standards
a set of unfair principles that allows more freedom of behaviour to one group of people than to another

 
   
  Read more about this story  
 

Other Words in the News archives

 

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