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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Awaiting President Hamid Karzai's signature, law will go into effect shortly barring veto

The European Union has publicly denounced a draft law recently approved by the Afghan parliament. The law denies justice to victims of domestic violence, forced marriage and child abuse. 

The European Union has publicly denounced a draft law recently approved by the Afghan parliament. The law denies justice to victims of domestic violence, forced marriage and child abuse.

The European Union has publicly denounced a draft law recently approved by the Afghan parliament. The law denies justice to victims of domestic violence, forced marriage and child abuse.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Afghan law, European Union, condemnation


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The proposed legislation bars relatives from testifying against each other. This would make it virtually impossible for abused women and children to accuse a family member. Unless Afghan President Hamid Karzai's vetoes the law within 15 days it automatically becomes law.

"I am very concerned that this new law would restrict prosecutions for domestic violence and child abuse in Afghanistan," E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

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"If the draft law is passed, it could be used to stop the relatives of alleged abusers from appearing as prosecution witnesses in court."

Ashton denounced the draft law as a "serious backward step" in the struggle for Afghan women's rights and urged the Afghan government to amend it. Canada also condemned the law earlier this month, when Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich expressed "deep concern" about it. 

"If adopted, this legislation could seriously hamper the investigation of crimes - particularly those against Afghan women and girls, including sexual and domestic violence and child, early and forced marriage - in which the accused is a relative," she said.

While women in Afghanistan have made progress in the fight for fundamental human rights since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, those rights are being eroded as foreign troops carry out a phased withdrawal due to be completed at the end of this year.

Restoring women's rights after the Taliban were ousted by a U.S.-led coalition was cited as one of the main objectives of the war in 2001.

Women were forced to wear the burqas, a head-to-toe robe, under Taliban law. Females were also barred from leaving their home unless escorted by a male relative. Girl schools were also shut down.

According to Sima Samar, the head of the country's human rights commission, violent crime against women in Afghanistan became increasingly brutal in 2013 and rose to record levels.

Some fear that pressure from the west, no matter how well intended, will be brushed aside by the Afghan people. Drone strikes carried out by allied forces have caused many deaths among unarmed civilians here. Words of advisory from the U.S. and Europe therefore, may fall largely on deaf ears.   

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