Friday, April 3, 2009

Afghan Law Legalises Rape In Marriage

A new Afghan law makes it legal for men to rape their wives. The President Hamid Karzai has been accused by human rights groups of signing the legislation in order to garner support from the Shiite community in the face of August elections.

Many have criticised the introduction of these somewhat harsh laws, following the fall of the Taliban's repressive regime, as Parliament had neither the opportunity to discuss nor debate this legislation before it was hastily rushed through.

From the Khaleej Times:
"A new law for Shia Muslims in Afghanistan has provoked anger among some lawmakers and the United States and United Nations said they were concerned about its impact on women’s rights in the former Taliban state.

The law passed by parliament and signed by President Hamid Karzai, but not yet promulgated in the official gazette, is meant to legalise minority Shia family law, which is different from that of the majority Sunni population. Shia Muslims make up about 15 percent of the population."

From Newsday:
"Safia Sidiqi, a lawmaker from Nangarhar province who condemned the legislation, said she cannot remember parliament debating or even voting on the law and she does not know how it came to be signed by Karzai. She called for the law to be recalled to parliament for debate.

Sayed Hossain Alemi Balkhi, a Shiite lawmaker involved in drafting it, defended the legislation saying it gives more rights to women than even Britain or the United States does. He said the law makes women safer and ensures the husband is obliged to provide for her."