The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has issued a report entitled "A Way to Go" on Sunday, revealing that cases of violence against women registered in 16 provinces of the country this show a 28 percent increase in 2014.
The UN office in Kabul expressed major concerns over growing violence against Afghan women and argued the courts and police have been feeble in implementing the laws to protect women.
"Child marriages have been one of the fundamental challenges behind the growing violence, in the first step we must prevent this culture and root it out so that violence against women is reduced in the country," Afghan Women's Network Chair Haseena Safai said after the UNAMA report was released.
Law enforcement and the status of the Elimination of Violence Against Women law were the top concerns of activists.
"Challenges exist in the legal and judicial organs of Afghanistan that put hurdles in the way of law enforcement, and the second issue is the culture of impunity," Center for Skill Development of Afghan Women executive director Mari Akrami said. "We need to eradicate these issues so that cases of violence against women are decreased."
The UN examined the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, enacted as a presidential decree in 2009 and passed by parliament earlier this year.
"The landmark law...was a huge achievement for all Afghans, but implementation has been slow and uneven," U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said in a report released on Sunday.
There has been an increase in reporting violence against women but a failure to prosecute offenders, said the head of the U.N. human rights office in Afghanistan, Georgette Gagnon.
Registration of reports of violence had risen 28 percent over the year, but use of the law in cases increased by only two percent.
"This suggests that use of the law to prosecute perpetrators of violence against women remains low," Gagnon said.
Amirzai Sangeen, the Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications, was summoned to the Senate on Sunday and asked to respond to queries regarding the security of government communications, technical problems in the telecommunication sector and broadband internet development.
At the meeting, Sangeen told the Senators that telephone calls of Afghan government officials and leaders of political parties could be intercepted outside and also inside the country.
"We need to install the latest technology to avoid intercepted phone calls of the President and other key officials, but the ministry of information technology and telecommunication doesn't have such equipment," he told the Senators on Sunday.
This year, controversy has erupted around the U.S.' National Security Agency (NSA), which was found to be listening in on a number of major world leaders' communications, including the personal phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
According to Sangeen, no one is allowed on the basis of the prevailing laws of the country to monitor the telephone conversations of another person.
He did acknowledge that the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Department of Counter-narcotics intercepts telephone calls of some individuals for legal purposes, while other organs could do the same illegally.
But the Minister said that those who use SIM boxes illegally in some cases have not been able to be punished in Afghanistan due to the incompleteness of laws on the heavily technical issue.
"We found those people who were using the illegal SIM boxed and introduced them to attorney general, in the presence of representatives of attorney general and police, but due some problems in the laws they weren't tried and were released on bail after a short while," Sangeen said.
The availability of unregistered mobile SIM cards was also something Senators expressed concerns about.
"Disturbing calls have increased by some individuals and unregistered SIM cards are the main reason," Senator Belqis Roshan said.
Sangeen said that mobile SIM cards are being registered, but the lack of accurate contact details of customers have caused challenges.
Afghanistan has seen a dramatic rise in the use of telecommunications and internet in recent years. The spread of mobile phones, especially, has expanded access to information but also brought with it a number of new demands on government and law enforcement.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Sunday, the International Human Rights Day, criticized the government for failing to enforce justice against human rights violators.
The AIHRC registers complaints of those whose rights have been violated. And its representatives on Sunday said the implementation of justice on human rights was the job of the legal and judicial organs of the country.
The International Day of Human Rights was celebrated in a ceremony at Kabul University on Sunday, with the support of United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The UN representative in Afghanistan said that the government is responsible for making the people aware of their rights and use its resources to strengthen respect for human rights in the country, particularly in remote regions that have not seen the same progress major urban centers like Kabul have over the last 12 years.
"Afghanistan has ratified seven international human rights conventions which lay strong foundation for the socioeconomic, cultural, civil and political empowerment of the Afghan citizens; again it's a society coming out of war where the realization of rights becomes even more appropriate for us all," UN representative for Human Rights in Afghanistan Mark Brown said.
Nevertheless, the Afghan Minister of Justice said that for strengthening the human rights regime in Afghanistan there is needs to be more comprehensive laws.
"People should be provided information about their rights and this is the job of the government and the institutions, the laws should be comprehensive laws and we need to focus on legislation so that good laws are ratified," Afghan Minister of Justice Habibullah Ghalib said.
AIHRC representatives expressed called on the government to see through human rights laws, especially when it comes to punishing offenders, which they argued Kabul has failed to do.
"The government, on implementation of justice against violators, has been feeble," AIHRC official Shams Ahmadzai said.
Although human rights in Afghanistan have been a hot-button issue since the days of the Taliban, this year discourse surrounding law enforcement and the punishment of violators has picked-up ahead of the April Presidential and Provincial Council elections.
Many have raised issue with the involvement of supposed human rights violators in the election races.
In exclusive interview with TOLOnews, the Iran Deputy Minister of Interior Ali Abdullahi said on Sunday that some 5,000 Afghan prisoners sit in Iranian jails at the moment, having been arrested on various charges including drug smuggling, murder, kidnapping and armed assault.
"I don't know the exact number of Afghan detainees in Iran, but the statistics of the legal organ show that approximately five thousand Afghan nationals are detained in Iran and they are being charged with a variety of crimes," Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdullahi told TOLOnews.
Abdullahi took the opportunity to highlight that Tehran has extended the legal documentation of 700,000 Afghan refugees in his country for another year. He said steps should be taken to pave the road toward returning another 800,000 Afghans who stay in Iran without legal documents.
"We want them to enter Iran legally, we have issued them permits, they receive visa from our embassy in Afghanistan and this process should move forward and we await cooperation of our Afghan friends and the concerned institutions should manage the legal stay of Afghan refugees in Iran," Abdullahi said.
He emphasized that Iran doesn't want to expel Afghan refugees, but would do what was necessary to enforce the law.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said while in Kabul Saturday that a NATO meeting in February could become the new deadline for the finalization of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), while Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues to refuse signing the accord before the April elections.