No free speech, press, at Afghanistan conference


This is a video of Afghan refugees demonstrating in The Hague against government plans to deport them to war-torn Afghanistan.

Today, at the international Afghanistan conference in The Hague, a Dutch TV journalist team was forcibly ejected, and their press accreditation was withdrawn.

This was because they asked United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: ‘Is it okay if we leave Afghanistan next year?’

Also, a demonstration expressing the majority viewpoint in the Netherlands, that the Afghanistan war should stop, was stopped and turned back by police.

This is a Dutch Socialist Party video against Dutch involvement in the Afghan war.

The head of the British Army announced at the weekend that he stood ready to send 2,000 additional troops to Afghanistan: here.

Afghan women “worse” off than under Taliban


This video says about itself:

Afghan Member of Parliament [then, in 2006, still; before she was expelled] Malalai Joya speaks about the troubling and declining status of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Remember all those hypocritical speeches by George W. Bush and United States First Lady Laura Bush about the bombing, maiming and killing of occupation and war in Afghanistan having supposedly noble democratic purposes, especially for Afghan women?

Reality is somewhat different, as usually with the Bush clique.

From British daily The Guardian:

‘Worse than the Taliban’ – new law rolls back rights for Afghan women

* Jon Boone in Kabul

* Tuesday 31 March 2009

Hamid Karzai has been accused of trying to win votes in Afghanistan’s presidential election by backing a law the UN says legalises rape within marriage and bans wives from stepping outside their homes without their husbands’ permission.

The Afghan president signed the law earlier this month, despite condemnation by human rights activists and some MPs that it flouts the constitution’s equal rights provisions.

The final document has not been published, but the law is believed to contain articles that rule women cannot leave the house without their husbands’ permission, that they can only seek work, education or visit the doctor with their husbands’ permission, and that they cannot refuse their husband sex.

A briefing document prepared by the United Nations Development Fund for Women also warns that the law grants custody of children to fathers and grandfathers only.

Senator Humaira Namati, a member of the upper house of the Afghan parliament, said the law was “worse than during the Taliban”. “Anyone who spoke out was accused of being against Islam,” she said.

The Afghan constitution allows for Shias, who are thought to represent about 10% of the population, to have a separate family law based on traditional Shia jurisprudence. But the constitution and various international treaties signed by Afghanistan guarantee equal rights for women.

Soraya Sobhrang, the head of women’s affairs at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said western silence had been “disastrous for women’s rights in Afghanistan”.

“What the international community has done is really shameful. If they had got more involved in the process when it was discussed in parliament we could have stopped it. Because of the election I am not sure we can change it now. It’s too late for that.”

See also here. And here.

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