Observing that a new Shia family bill passed by the Afghan Parliament poses a great threat to the freedom and dignity of women, a leading rights watch has asked President Hamid Karzai not to sign it into law.
The new law that has also been opposed by the Obama Administration regulates marriage, divorce, and inheritance for the country’s Shia population.
The law, which analysts say legalises marital rape, includes provisions requiring a woman to seek permission to leave the house except on urgent business, to “make herself up” or “dress up” for her husband when demanded and not to refuse sex when her husband wants it.
“President Karzai should not sacrifice women for short-term political deal-making,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “He is playing with fire. How will he be able to refuse demands for similar discriminatory laws from other communities?” he said in a statement.
The body said the Shia family bill poses a great threat to the freedom and dignity of women and the President should not sign it.
While Karzai has asked the Ministry of Justice to review the law, HRW said it is concerned that the review will not be independent because those leading the process in the Ministry are from a conservative Shia background.