It was reported yesterday, from news sources all over the world that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is rumored to have signed a law that would not only diminish women's rights in Afghanistan, it would outright throw them out the window. This new law (Article 132) states that "women must obey their husband’s sexual demands and that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least ‘once every four nights’ when traveling, unless they are ill." It also prohibits women from going to the doctor or leaving their home without their husband's protection.It is also rumored to grant custody of children only to fathers or grandfathers.
Shinkai Karokhail (a female Afghan MP): "It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century."
Senator Humaira Namati (Afghanistan): "Worse than during the Taliban". "Anyone who spoke out was accused of being against Islam."
Hilary Clinton: "This is an area of absolute concern for the United States.My message is very clear. Women's rights are a central part of the foreign policy of the Obama administration."
Stockwell Day: "The onus is upon the government of Afghanistan to live up to its human-rights responsibilities, absolutely including the rights of women. If there is any wavering on this point … this will create serious difficulties, serious problems for the government of Canada."
Unifem (U.N): "Article 132 legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband."
The current Afghan administration actually had the balls to claim that this law protected women, who according to them, are weaker than men. Hamid Karzai declined to comment. It is widely speculated that signing this law is a move to garner votes from Afghan fundamentalists for the upcoming August elections.
If this law proves to be an actual law I firmly believe that Canada should lead the way in leaving Afghanistan. I would love to say that we should stay until our 2011 deadline and try to sway the Afghan government, but it's clear that NATO's influence in this country has not done very much good if the Afghan parliament still passes such backwards legislation as this one. How can one put his political career before the rights of millions of citizens?
We (Canada) should not be defending a government that does not do its best to protect its citizens. We should not support an administration that violates the rights of women. We should make our discontent and anger known. Canada, as a country known for its peacekeeping and for being a champion for Human Rights, should not be associated in any way in propping up this government that has clearly failed to live up to our, and the world's, expectations.
I don't want to see anymore Canadian men and women brought back home in coffins for a country that legalizes rape and violates Human Rights. Afghanistan, consider this your ultimatum.
sources for quotes:
Globe and Mail