New anti-women law in ‘new’ Afghanistan

This video from the USA says about itself:

An address by Pacifica radio host Sonali Kolhatkar, one of this country’s leading voices against the occupation of Afghanistan and co-author of the book Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords and the Propaganda of Silence.

If you believed the pro-Afghan war propaganda of George W. Bush and his clique, the war seemed to be all about liberating Afghan women.

Well … err … not really.

Then, months ago, the pro United States Kabul government made a new law about women which was said to be even worse than the Taliban.

Many people protested; including Bush’s successor Obama, eventually; and the anti women law seemed to be off.

Now, it is *not* off; according to British daily The Guardian:

Afghanistan passes ‘barbaric’ law diminishing women’s rights

Rehashed legislation allows husbands to deny wives food if they fail to obey sexual demands

* Jon Boone in Kandahar

* Friday 14 August 2009

Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands’ sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation which President Hamid Karzai had promised to review.

The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.

“It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying ‘blood money’ to a girl who was injured when he raped her,” the US charity Human Rights Watch said.

In early April, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown joined an international chorus of condemnation when the Guardian revealed that the earlier version of the law legalised rape within marriage, according to the UN.

Although Karzai appeared to back down, activists say the revised version of the law still contains repressive measures and contradicts the Afghan constitution and international treaties signed by the country.

Islamic law experts and human rights activists say that although the language of the original law has been changed, many of the provisions that alarmed women’s rights groups remain, including this one: “Tamkeen is the readiness of the wife to submit to her husband’s reasonable sexual enjoyment, and her prohibition from going out of the house, except in extreme circumstances, without her husband’s permission. If any of the above provisions are not followed by the wife she is considered disobedient.” …

Human Rights Watch, which has obtained a copy of the final law, called on all candidates to pledge to repeal the law, which it says contradicts Afghanistan‘s own constitution.

The group said that Karzai had “made an unthinkable deal to sell Afghan women out in the support of fundamentalists in the August 20 election”.

Brad Adams, the organisation’s Asia director, said: “The rights of Afghan women are being ripped up by powerful men who are using women as pawns in manoeuvres to gain power.

“These kinds of barbaric laws were supposed to have been relegated to the past with the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, yet Karzai has revived them and given them his official stamp of approval.”

Women MPs have alleged that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had used a constitutional loophole to enact a law that allows husbands to refuse money to their wives if denied sex: here.

AFGHANISTAN-US: Govt Withholds Information About Bagram Detainees: here. Britain and Bagram prisoners: here.

USA: A Fort Hood soldier faced a military trial today for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan, one week after another member of his unit was sentenced to 30 days in jail for refusing to go to war. Sergeant Travis Bishop was convicted on all charges and sentenced to one year in prison, loss of pay, and reduction in rank: here.

BOOKS-US: Soldiers Who Just Say No: here.

USA: Comparisons of military wives with their “look-alikes” — a group of similar civilian wives — show that military wives have a much greater tendency to be underemployed. They are much more likely not to be in the labor force, more likely to involuntarily work part-time, and more likely to have relatively high levels of education for their jobs than their civilian counterparts: here.

6 thoughts on “New anti-women law in ‘new’ Afghanistan

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