Afghan President Signs Law that Legalizes Rape in Marriages.
Apr 13, 2009 15:46
Disheartening news has it that Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has signed a law legalizing 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
Only fathers and grandfathers are granted custody of children
under the law, according to the United Nations Development Fund for
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
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.
Shinkai Zahine Karokhail, a female MP, said the law had been rushed through with little debate.
She told the Guardian newspaper: "They wanted to pass it almost
like a secret negotiation, "There were lots of things that we wanted to
change, but they didn't want to discuss it because Karzai wants to
please the Shia before the election."
The Afghan justice ministry confirmed the law had been signed,
but said it would not be published until technical difficulties had
A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai would not comment.
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