Monday, 6 April 2009

Afghan anti-women law update

he UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has described a new law signed by Afghanistan's President Karzai earlier this month "extraordinary, reprehensible and reminiscent of the decrees made by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the 1990s." The new law denies Afghan Shi’a women the right to leave their homes except for "legimitate" purposes; forbids women from working or receiving education without their husbands' express permission; explicitly permits marital rape; diminishes the right of mothers to be their children’s guardians in the event of a divorce; and makes it impossible for wives to inherit houses and land from their husbands – even though husbands may inherit immoveable property from their wives. 
US President Barack Obama at the weekend called the law "abhorrent" telling a press conference in Strasbourg that "“we think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture, but we also think that there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle.” But when it comes to the crunch President Obama is putting more weight on sensitivity to local culture than the freedom of women as he prepares to send even more troops to Afghanistan.
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