New Afghanistan law could silence women who are victims of domestic violence
Law would ban relatives of the accused from testifying against them
A new law in Afghanistan could allow men to abuse their wives, children and sisters and not face criminal prosecution by banning the relatives of an accused person from testifying against them.
If passed, the bill would make it much more difficult for victims to bring cases of abuse to court which often happen as they most often occur within the confines of the family home, The Guardian has reported.
The small change to a section of the criminal code Prohibition of Questioning an Individual as a Witness would also prevent doctors, children and defence lawyers from testifying in a case.
The bill has been passed by both houses of Parliament but is awaiting the signature of the conservative President Hamid Karzai, who by choosing to sign it will bring it into force. Campaigners are now calling on Karzai to refuse to sign the bill they assert will weaken "already inadequate" legal protections for women.
“President Karzai should reject a law that will effectively let batterers of women and girls off the hook,” Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
HRW warned by signing the new criminal procedure, women would be denied protection from domestic violence and forced or child marriage by silencing victims and their family members who have witnessed their abuse.
The proposed change comes after the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission reported a 26 per cent increase in the number of women saying they had been assaulted in 2013. Sima Samir, chair of the AIHRC said in January the brutality of attacks on women had greatly intensified during this time.
"The brutality of the cases is really bad. Cutting the nose, lips and ears. Committing public rape," she said. "Mass rape... It's against dignity, against humanity."
Opportunities for women seemingly improved after the Taliban was toppled from power in 2001, and the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) made crimes of child marriage, forced marriage and rape for the first time under Afghan law, with tough penalties for domestic violence.
However, HRW argue this new bill threatens protections for women and girls provided within the EVAW law.
“President Karzai should take a stand for Afghan women by sending the new law back to parliament with a message that he will not sign it until it is revised in line with the goals of the EVAW law and Afghanistan’s obligations under international law,” Mr Adams said.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy dead: Former Lib Dem leader dies at home aged 55 - latest news
- 3 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
- 4 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 5 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Photographer who performed naked shoot in China's Forbidden City sparks outrage
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Charles Kennedy dead: Former Lib Dem leader dies at home aged 55 - latest news
Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video for 'propaganda purposes'
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...
£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...