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What Would Make A Woman Go Back To Boko Haram? Despair
What Would Make A Woman Go Back To Boko Haram? Despair
Pakistani human rights activists hold candles as they shout slogans during a rally in Lahore on 7 March 2011 on the eve of International Women's Day. AFP/Arif Ali
Report 265 / Asia

巴基斯坦之女性、暴力与冲突

在巴基斯坦,女性的安全及其政治、社会和经济地位遭到了宗教极端分子的攻击,被歧视性法律所削弱,还不受政府的保护。政府必须遵守承诺,消除性别不平等的现象、终止针对女性的暴力行为;尤其是在此况甚为严重的地区,如西北部的冲突地带以及巴基斯坦与阿富汗接壤处的部落带。

执行摘要

巴基斯坦向民主国家过渡已经八年了,但在有罪不罚和政府不作为的环境下,对女性的暴力行为仍然普遍存在。歧视性的法律和不健全的刑法使妇女陷入极端危险。尤其是在开伯尔-普赫图赫瓦省冲突地区(KPK)和联邦直辖部落地区(FATA),由于暴力极端分子的公开压迫,女性安全备受威胁。在3月8日国际妇女节,巴基斯坦总理纳瓦兹·谢里夫(Nawaz Sharif)郑重宣布,其政府将采取一切必要的立法和行政措施来保护和赋予女性权利。如果谢里夫的承诺言出肺腑,那他的巴基斯坦穆斯林联盟(PML-N)政府便应该结束制度性的性别暴力和歧视,包括废除不公正的法律、打击极端主义尤其在KPK和FATA地区的威胁、并接纳女性在如何设计——包括反暴力极端组织策略在内的与其安危息息相关的——国家政策上尤为相关的参与和建议。

过去的国家政策为了安抚暴力极端主义分子,使女性成为了主要受害者。而在巴基斯坦回归民主之后,巴基斯坦在改善女性待遇上,特别通过对立法渐进改良,取得了一些进展。 女权运动的中坚力量不仅得以参与到联邦和省级立法机构中,并撰写了大部分的女权法案;他们在议会中的代表数量也有增加。然而,只要社会仍持有偏见,即便是在完善的法律也不足以保障女性安全。若警察不会因未能调查性别歧视犯罪而被问责,若司法部门上上下下均置女性暴力幸存者的正义于不顾,那歧视性法律便仍是记录在册的。

巴基斯坦的法律残存了不少上世纪七八十年代齐亚•哈克(Zia-ul-Haq)将军伊斯兰化的痕迹。而这些法律则延续其对女性在宪法中性别平等权的否认,并助长了对女性的宗教迫害和暴力。只要法律和行政上的壁垒——尤其是于1979年通过的《伊刑法条例》、联邦直辖部落地区于1901年通过的《边境犯罪条例》(FCR)、和2009年在省级直辖部落地区签署的《Nizam-e-Adl协议》——依然存在,那女性对司法公正和安全的企望便仍将是痴人说梦。

政府肩负着打击性别不平等和为女性赋权消除障碍的宪法义务和国际承诺,其中包括联合国公约下的《消除对妇女一切形式歧视公约》(CEDAW)。废除歧视性立法并执行保护妇女的法律,其中包括确保她们能受到秉持两性平等的警察和法庭的保护,这对于结束性别施暴有罪不罚的现象而言至关重要。

在开伯尔·普赫图赫瓦省冲突地区和联邦直辖部落地区,虽侵犯人权却逍遥法外的情况尤为惊人,该地区的政府默许了这些针对妇女的歧视、武装暴力、宗教极端主义和性暴力。激进分子可以肆意袭击女权活动家、政治领袖和发展工作者而不受惩治。在巴基斯坦的许多地方,特别是普赫图赫瓦省(Pakhtunkhw)和联邦直辖部落地区,非正式司法机制盛行并尤为歧视女性;同时,政府胡乱采取军事行动,其造成了数百万人流离失所,而这也进一步加剧了女性在冲突地带所面临的困难。

在开伯尔—普赫图赫瓦省冲突地区和联邦直辖部落地区乃至全国范围内,提高女性在决策上的地位——或作为选民参与政治、或担任国家公职人员——都会成为可持续性改革的核心。巴基斯坦应该在女性赋权上多下功夫,努力通过国家各政策反应女权的重要性,其中也包括了反暴力和维和政策。这些都是为了让女性蒙受叛乱和政府反暴政策之苦的案例在巴基斯坦不再比比皆是。

加强国家以及省级立法对女性的保护,仅是朝着正确的方向迈出的一小步。更必要的则是为女性提供保障,令其免受暴力和不公正待遇,且最终巩固巴基斯坦向民主制度过渡的进程。

伊斯兰堡/布鲁塞尔,2015年4月8日

Op-Ed / Africa

What Would Make A Woman Go Back To Boko Haram? Despair

Originally published in The Guardian

In northeastern Nigeria, the militant group exploits a broken social system. There are lessons here for the rest of the world.

Zahra and Amina seem like lucky survivors of the scourge of northeastern Nigeria, the jihadist movement known as Boko Haram. Both were wives of fighters. Zahra escaped by agreeing to detonate an explosive vest that the militants strapped to her. After walking miles to her intended target, a government checkpoint, she turned herself over to soldiers. Amina fled with her three children after her husband was killed in battle.

Today, both women live in a camp for survivors of the conflict in the northeastern city of Maiduguri. When I met them on a recent research trip to the city, the last thing I expected to hear was that they wanted to rejoin the insurgents. Conventional thinking and security policies that aim to dissuade women from extremist groups tend to focus on ideology, presuming that only brainwashing could compel them to voluntarily join radical, violent militias. But here in the northeast, some women have largely been compelled to affiliate with Boko Haram by social and political conditions. Perversely, the group offers them respite from insecurity and the limited opportunities afforded them in a deeply patriarchal society riven by poor governance.

Zahra and Amina say that when they were with the militants, life was harsh and uncertain, but they had enough to eat. As voluntary wives of fighters, they were protected from sexual predation. They attended religion classes, the first formal schooling many had ever received, and their children went to school, learning literacy and religion. There were courts where women could report abusive husbands. In contrast, in their now emancipated lives in the camp, they often go hungry. There is little chance to work to buy more food, and shortages have contributed to sexual exploitation by the security forces who guard them. “Most Boko Haram women regret coming here, because life is just so hard,” says Amina.

These two women are just one small part of a massive humanitarian and security crisis that has been unfolding across the Lake Chad basin – the area where Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon meet – since 2014. Overshadowed by the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the scale of humanitarian disaster in the region is nevertheless vast: more than 2.4 million people displaced, 5 million in need of food and shelter, and half a million children at famine levels of malnourishment.

While the Boko Haram insurgency may not directly affect the west – it doesn’t contribute to migration flows and the militants are not involved in attacks in Europe – the experiences of Boko Haram women carry wide implications for our understanding of why people join such movements. While the group, like many others that self-identify as “jihadist”, deploys ideological rhetoric to promote its political goals, it is the deprived and fractious context in which it operates that best explains its appeal – especially to women.

Azadeh Moaveni (right) interviews a woman in northeastern Nigeria. CRISISGROUP/Jorge Gutierrez Lucena

Zahra and Amina, like many women in the northeast, joined the militants by choice. They left by choice, too – unwilling to marry other fighters appointed by the group after their own husbands had died. Their stories challenge the dominant narrative around Boko Haram, shaped by the global outcry over the Chibok schoolgirls’ kidnapping, which holds that women only join by force, and that, similarly, only those who were abducted can be regarded as genuine victims. Returning from Nigeria, I met a group of Swiss women who regularly spend their holidays doing freelance volunteer work with female victims of Boko Haram. “We only help the ones who were kidnapped,” one pointedly told me.

But the circumstances that propel women such as Zahra and Amina into and out of Boko Haram show the limits of the neat categories of victim and perpetrator. In the early days of the insurgency, many women found the movement appealing because it offered alternatives to the patriarchy endorsed by their conservative families. The group’s leaders supported lower dowries, which meant more young women could choose husbands from among their peers, rather than the greying, financially secure men they would be traditionally compelled to marry. And while the militants were only able to provide for them so generously by looting and pillaging, some women felt the Nigerian state’s corruption justified these abuses. Life in the forest felt freer and more dignified than living in the dust of an internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camp, dependent on international aid groups for a meal a day.

While ending the insurgency and countering the militants’ appeal is obviously vital, it is also essential to recognise what precisely has guided women to join the militants in the first place.

Even now, Zahra’s and Amina’s thinking about the group – their belief that returning to the militants would improve their lives – is mostly a calculus of immediate survival. Dalori II, the camp where they live, like most in the city, is chronically short on food, and across satellite camps in the region groups such as Amnesty International have documented an epidemic of rape and sexual exploitation. Some progress has been made to curtail these abuses, and humanitarian groups have tried to adjust food distribution practices to blunt the potential for abuse, but this has only changed the dynamic of the exploitation. “You have to become a harlot to stay in the camps,” says Amina.

One reason Zahra says she was glad to leave the militants was because she saw that their blind rejection of teaching in English was harming her children: “It does not benefit them to stay home. It’s better for them to learn.” She assumed that in Maiduguri, her kids would be able to attend school. But camp managers in Dalori II dismantled the one school on its premises, claiming it was no longer needed since people would be returning to their villages. But nobody has gone home, and now there is no school.

The northeast Nigerian state of Borno is now a vast patchwork of towns and villages with few men, a whole sub-society of single mothers trying to cope as breadwinners in areas with collapsed economies without their husbands’ protection and support. Some reintegration programmes offer skills training, but embroidering and selling a cap a month neither enables a woman to feed three children nor does it protect her from rape after dark. Plus, some international groups devote funds and attention to what they call “countering extremism”, with extremism often conceived in an amorphous way that views ideology, rather than a complex patchwork of political grievance and social frustrations, as a root cause of the violence.

While ending the insurgency and countering the militants’ appeal is obviously vital, it is also essential to recognise what precisely has guided women to join the militants in the first place. This has wider implications for the whole of the northeast, not just displaced women in the camps, or former Boko Haram women, but all women, who are trying to cope with conditions so impoverished and limiting that, sometimes, joining a militant group appears to offer a way out.