Photo from Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika, U.S. Military
For years now I have heard those who support the invasion of Afghanistan has not only been about 9/11, but also to bring 'freedom and democracy' to the people of Afghanistan.
One of the most common reasons I have heard here in Canada when people are arguing in favour of our military being in Afghanistan, has been the rights of women.
Well, it seems now that the new western-sanctioned government of Afghanistan seems to be spitting in the faces of all Afghan women and girls:
Afghan leader accused of bid to 'legalise rape'
Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, has signed a law which "legalises" rape, women's groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.
In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.
"It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century," fumed Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned against the legislation. "It is totally against women's rights. This law makes women more vulnerable."
Read the rest of the UK Independent article here.
It would seem that President Karzai is trying to appeal to voters, such as the Hazara, which and according to a Guardian article is the 'most important bloc of swing voters' in the upcoming election.
The article goes on to claim that the Hazara party leader, Ustad Mohammad Akbari states that the law actually 'protects the rights of women'.
More from the article:
"Men and women have equal rights under Islam but there are differences in the way men and women are created. Men are stronger and women are a little bit weaker; even in the west you do not see women working as firefighters."
Akbari said the law gave a woman the right to refuse sexual intercourse with her husband if she was unwell or had another reasonable "excuse". And he said a woman would not be obliged to remain in her house if an emergency forced her to leave without permission.
You can read the rest of the Guardian article here.
Well, isn't that nice? Equality for women means that you get to own your body if you are 'unwell', and you don't have be caged in your house if there is an 'emergency'.
RAWA Protest Against the Taliban, 1998.
On the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) website, I found a breakdown of how this law would affect women and children:
Article 122: Tacitly accepts child marriage by laying out mahar (dowery) provisions for marriage between minors.
Article 132: Legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband.
Article 133: Subjects a woman’s right to work, education, access to health care and to other services to her husband’s authority/permission.
Article 161: Legalizes divorce proceedings with the simple requirement that two male witnesses must be present.
Article 177: Denies a woman the right to leave her home without her husband’s permission.
Article 226: Regulates inheritance rights between couples. Men inherit both moveable and immovable property from a deceased spouse, while women inherit only moveable property from a deceased spouse.
Article 47: Grants guardianship of children to fathers and grandfathers.
To find out more about RAWA and the struggle for women's rights in Afghanistan, go to their website.