Controversial Afghan Law will not be Implemented, Ambassador Says

Afghan Ambassador to the US Said Jawad said this past weekend that a new Shia family law that would severely restrict women’s rights signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai sometime last month will not go into effect.

The Ambassador told Bloomberg that “it will not become the law because it contradicts some important principles of the Afghan constitution.” Karzai, according to news sources, signed the bill to court the Hazara vote in the upcoming presidential election.

According to Jawad, Karzai signed the law without being aware of all of its provisions and has sent the likely unconstitutional law to be reviewed by the Afghan Ministry of Justice and the Afghan Supreme Court. Jawad also indicated that the law will not go into effect because President Karzai does not plan to publish it.

According to The Guardian the law contains provisions that would restrict women from leaving their homes, working, going to school, or obtaining medical care without their husbands’ permission. The law also includes a provision that women cannot refuse their husbands sex and a provision that grants child custody only to men. Ustad Mohammad Akbari, leader of the Hazara party, told The Guardian that the law gives women the right to refuse sex with their husbands if they are ill or have a “reasonable excuse” and allows women the right to leave their homes without permission in an emergency.


The Guardian 3/31/09; Bloomberg 4/11/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/8/09

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