New York [US], May 12 (ANI): The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday urged the United Kingdom to expedite the provision of long-term housing to Afghan women evacuated last August as many of them are faced with a growing risk of domestic violence and pressure from other Afghan evacuees in temporary accommodations.
The UK evacuated about 18,000 people after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.
Eight months later, thousands of them continue to remain in temporary housing, such as hotels, even though the government pledged to seek longer-term accommodations for them, the watchdog said.
It was found that five women who have lived in three temporary housing locations in London and found that many families continue to live packed into one room.
"The Afghan women interviewed were all grateful for being evacuated. But they have dealt with a huge amount of trauma before and during their flight from Afghanistan, and now they are dealing with conditions that are affecting their mental health and keeping them from integrating into the community," Sahar Fetrat, assistant women's rights researcher at HRW, said.
One of the women said, as cited in the report, that a woman in a temporary housing facility has been experiencing domestic violence from her husband, but when she tried to report it, "the community in the hotel stopped her by intimidating her over the consequences."
Another Afghan evacuee told the watchdog that a woman living next door at her hotel has not left the premises for seven months because her husband would not let her.
The fact that Afghans from different parts of the country and different ethnic and religious backgrounds have been grouped into same accommodation only adds to peer pressure, the report said.
According to the report, the UK government pays refugees a monthly stipend ranging from 250-280 pounds ($300-$340), but many women are prevented from using the money by their husbands because of the traditional gender roles and, in many cases, because they simply do not know how to use cards.
"Women are given bank cards, but the husband keeps the pin codes," one of the refugees said. "Most of these women are uneducated or unfamiliar with such systems, and they have no control over their own money."
The watchdog called on UK authorities to address these issues without delay and help Afghan women integrate and rebuild their lives. (ANI)