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 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...