Some are wondering why the president of Afghanistan would sign a law that basically legalizes marital rape & dramatically reverses any progress that Afghan women have made!Is this the freedom that George Bush claimed that women in Afghanistan have because of him? Here’s more from Common Dreams.org:
It was three years ago that George Bush triumphantly announced: “The mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden from working or going to school – today women are free.”
However, most women still wear the all-encompassing burqa, through fear of attack and social pressure, a third of women in Kabul do not leave the house, forbidden from doing so by the male members of the family, and it is still almost impossible for women to get a divorce.
It might be three years since the Taliban were toppled but age-old traditions and social attitudes are deeply engrained.
But there are a few signs of change. For the first time in the country’s history there is a Ministry for Women’s Affairs, Kabul’s first women-run radio station was launched this week and there is even a women’s fitness club.
Last month saw the opening of Afghanistan’s first job center for women. Business has been slow. Since the fall of the Taliban, only 2-3% of women have returned to work.
“You can rebuild the city but you can’t change attitudes,” says Alischah Paenda, deputy head of a mission for AGEF, a German non-governmental organization (NGO) partly funded by Britain, which is involved in setting up the job center with the Ministry for Women’s Affairs.
“Jobs for women are very limited. Most women are not allowed to leave the house. And if they are allowed out, they can’t work in fields dominated by men as their families don’t want them mixing with the opposite sex.”
As most sectors in Afghanistan are male dominated, it’s a catch-22 situation. “Even if you work for an NGO you’re not considered very pure. It gives you a bad reputation,” Paenda says.
Another obstacle for the job center is finding qualified women – after years of being banned from education, 90% of Afghan women are illiterate. Even today, centuries-old marriage traditions mean that 60% of Afghan girls are forced into marriage before they reach their 16th birthday and few husbands will allow their wives to go to school.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.
President Hamid Karzai may be trying to appeal to certain voters since there is an upcoming election.This new Afghan law prohibits women from leaving the house without their husband’s permission.And they can’t refuse sex without having a reasonable excuse,like being on the rag once a month! When I hear about draconian laws like this,it makes me appreciate being an American even more! Here’s the full info from the Telegraph:
“President Hamid Karzai has signed a law the UN says legalises rape in marriage and prevents women from leaving the house without permission. The law, which has not been publicly released, is believed to state women can only seek work, education or doctor’s appointments with their husband’s permission.Only fathers and grandfathers are granted custody of children under the law, according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women.
Opponents of the legislation governing the personal lives of Afghanistan’s Shia minority have said it is “worse than during the Taliban”.Mr Karzai has been accused of electioneering at the expense of women’s rights by signing the law to appeal to crucial Shia swing voters in this year’s presidential poll.While the Afghan constitution guarantees equal rights for women, it also allows the Shia community, thought to represent 10 per cent of the population, the right to settle family law cases according to Shia law.
The Shiite Personal Status Law contains provisions on marriage, divorce, inheritance, rights of movement and bankruptcy.The bill passed both houses of the Afghan parliament, but was so contentious that the United Nations and women’s rights campaigners have so far been unable to see a copy of the approved bill.”(End of Excerpt)Read the full story here.
Here’s how Canada feels about this horrific law,as reported by the AFP:
“Canadian lawmakers said Wednesday they are outraged by Afghan legislation that reportedly restricts the rights of minority Shia women, and want it repealed.
“This is antithetical to our mission in Afghanistan,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told public broadcaster CBC ahead of G20 talks in London, adding Kabul would face “considerable pressure” to nix it.
The Afghan family law reportedly makes it illegal for a woman to refuse sex with her husband, or to leave home without spousal permission and denies her custody of their children after a divorce.
It has cast a shadow over an international summit on Afghanistan in The Hague, where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is said to have upbraided Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the law.
“We’re deeply troubled by it,” Harper said in a CBC interview. “And I don’t think we’re by any means alone.”
“Making progress on human rights for women is a significant component of the international engagement in Afghanistan. It’s a significant change we want to see from the bad old days of the Taliban,” he said.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.
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