Saturday, August 15, 2009

Karzai 'has revived Taleban's barbarism to women'

"Karzai has made an unthinkable deal to sell Afghan women out in return for the support of fundamentalists in the August 20 election," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "So much for any credentials he claimed as a moderate on women's issues."

Karzai 'has revived Taleban's barbarism to women'.

HUMAN rights campaigners have accused president Hamid Karzai of "selling out" Afghan women by ratifying a Shiite law – which critics fear will legalise rape – ahead of next week's election.
The New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday discovered that an amended version of the controversial Personal Status Law quietly came into effect on 27 July, when it was published in the official gazette.

The legislation is meant to govern family law for minority Muslim Shiites, who make up about 15 per cent of Afghanistan's 30 million population, and is different to rules for the majority Sunni population.

It requires Shia women to satisfy their husband's sexual appetites, an article which critics have said could be used to justify marital rape.

Mr Karzai, who approved the legislation earlier this year, was forced to review the decision after western leaders said the "abhorrent" laws harked back to Taleban-era restrictions and Afghan women's rights groups protested on the streets.

Mr Karzai has previously said western concerns about the law were "inappropriate" and may have been based on "misinterpretations" but promised last April to make changes if it was found to violate the constitution.

However, HRW says the amended law still contains some of its "most repressive" articles that directly contravene the Afghan constitution, which bans any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens.

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