Afghan Women Choose Death by Fire

By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Mar 16, 2007 11:42 AM CDT
TAJABAD, AFGHANISTAN -- A woman in her burqa walks along the dusty dirt road to the entrance of the Shamshatto refugee camp in Tajabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, October 31, 2001.    (KRT Photos)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A new human rights report suggests that self-immolation is on the rise among Afghan women, who believe setting themselves on fire is the only sure way to end their agonized lives. The study interviewed the family members of 800 such women, who reported that rape, domestic violence, and accusations against their honor drove them to choose hellish death.

While the research covered only five Afghan provinces, four of which documented an increase in self-immolation this year, rights workers believe the problem is endemic. Despite the 2001 fall of the Taliban, advances for women have not shielded them from the beatings and coerced sex that one in three suffer, usually by someone they know who goes unpunished.