In a major victory for Afghan women, President Hamid Karzai yesterday refused to sign Afghanistan’s controversial draft Criminal Procedure Code into law. According to a presidential spokesperson, the President has indicated that he will not sign the bill until the Ministry of Justice amends Article 26.
Article 26 would prohibit relatives from testifying against each other in all criminal proceedings, including in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. After the law passed the Afghan Parliament, Afghan women’s rights groups launched a strong campaign to stop its enactment, including a public protest in Kabul on Friday.
“Our tireless advocacy for the last few weeks paid off,” said Manizha Naderi, Executive Director of Women for Afghan Women. “This is what we wanted — for the bill to go back to the Ministry of Justice for revision.” Her sentiments were echoed by Samira Hamidi of the Afghan Women’s Network, comprised of over 100 women-led organizations: “Who says advocacy and lobbying does not work? It does and we have seen results!”
Media Resources: Amnesty International News 2/17/2014; Associated Press 2/17/2014, 2/13/2014; The Guardian 2/17/2014; Feminist Newswire 2/14/2014