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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 7th 2009, 03:27 PM

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Responding to criticism from around the world, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that a new law that critics say makes it legal for men to rape their wives will be studied and possibly sent back to parliament for review.

Karzai said he ordered the Justice Ministry to review the law, and if anything in it contravenes the country's constitution or Shariah law, "measures will be taken."

The law, signed by Karzai last month, is intended to regulate family life inside Afghanistan's Shiite community, which makes up 10% to 20% of the country's 30 million people. But the United Nations Development Fund for Women has said the law "legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband."

The United States has urged Karzai to review the law, and Karzai said he has spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about it. Canadian officials have also criticized the legislation.

One of the law's most controversial articles legislates the frequency of sexual relations between Shiite husbands and wives. Article 132 says the husband has a right to sex every fourth night unless the wife is ill.

Karzai did not mention Article 132 during a news conference Saturday. But he said he had studied the law earlier in the day and that "I don't see any problems with it." He complained that Western media outlets had mistranslated it. He read an article of the law during the news conference that appears to restrict Shiite women's right to leave their homes, though Karzai underscored a provision that allows women to leave in emergencies.

Still, he said the law should be reviewed in consultation with scholars and religious leaders. "I ordered the justice minister to review the law, and if there is anything that would contravene the country's constitution or Shariah law or the freedom our constitution gives to Afghan women, without any doubt there will be changes in it, and again it will be sent to the parliament of Afghanistan," he said. "Measures will be taken."

The issue of women's rights is a source of tension between the country's conservative establishment and more liberal members of society. The Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 banned women from appearing in public without a body-covering burqa and a male escort from her family.


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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 7th 2009, 04:28 PM

Tricky business, drawing the line between the right to practice your religion and the upholding of human rights. I was addressing this in the last thread - do Western societies have the right to tell other countries what they should and should not do? And if we do, what can we do about things like this?


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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 7th 2009, 04:31 PM

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Originally Posted by Grizabella View Post
Tricky business, drawing the line between the right to practice your religion and the upholding of human rights. I was addressing this in the last thread - do Western societies have the right to tell other countries what they should and should not do? And if we do, what can we do about things like this?
In this case yes they do, particularly if they are in the UN as I'm pretty sure the right not to be raped is pretty high up. Human Rights > Religious rights as it is a certainty that the reason for human rights (a good, safe life for all people) exists whereas the reason behind religion is not proven.

I still think this is just a show for the West and the law will quietly slip in
   
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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 7th 2009, 06:09 PM

Yes, afghanistan is a member of the UN, but what action should we take when UN members don't follow the rules?


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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 7th 2009, 07:16 PM

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Yes, afghanistan is a member of the UN, but what action should we take when UN members don't follow the rules?
There are several actions such as placing trade embargos. However, a trade embargo would not help Afghanistan in the slightest bit.

In this case, though, I'm not sure what the United Nations can do besides pressuring Karzai and his gov't to stop this. Each country has national sovereignty which must be honored, but I really hope the international community can help overturn this law.


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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 7th 2009, 07:19 PM

Well the UN has the incredible power to say "Hey, you pass this law and we withdraw our support and you're all killed horrible by the new millitant government which takes your place" not that the UN ever would but the threat is there. They pretty much needs the support of the countries who are supplying them with an army.

However, I think the law will still pass and this whole review proceeding is merely a show for the west and they'll keep pointing out things like "look, the women can refuse to let their husbands rape them IF IT'S THAT TIME OF THE MONTH!!" and "They can leave the house without their husbands permission if it's an emergency, honestly we take womens rights very seriously" and other similar things.

But meh, it's good that they're even pretending to care what the rest of the world thinks about the law.

Last edited by Jack; April 7th 2009 at 07:26 PM.
   
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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 8th 2009, 03:04 AM

I hope they overturn this law. Do I think it is right? Of course not. No woman should be raped whenever her husband decides he wants to. :-/


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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 8th 2009, 05:16 AM

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Originally Posted by Jack View Post
Well the UN has the incredible power to say "Hey, you pass this law and we withdraw our support and you're all killed horrible by the new millitant government which takes your place" not that the UN ever would but the threat is there. They pretty much needs the support of the countries who are supplying them with an army.
But wouldn't that more or less give the Taliban permission to take power in the country, which is something the UN (or at least US) is trying to prevent?


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"Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just,
then they will not care how devout you have been,
but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life
that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
Marcus Aurelius
   
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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 8th 2009, 07:49 PM

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But wouldn't that more or less give the Taliban permission to take power in the country, which is something the UN (or at least US) is trying to prevent?
The Taliban are no longer in power and have not been in power since the United States along with Great Britain drove them out in October 2003. After the insurgency, the U.S. appointed Hamid Karzai as president and he has been in power since. However, there has been an obvious Taliban resurgence in various parts of Afghanistan. In reality, Karzai barely has control of his country, hence why Afghanistan is such an unstable state.


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How did Mandela get the will to surpass the everyday,
When injustice had him caged and trapped in every way,
How did Ghandi ever withstand the hunger strikes and all,
Didn't do it to gain power or money if I recall,
It's to give; I guess I'll pass it on

- Take a Minute, K'naan

Last edited by sushi_error; April 8th 2009 at 07:58 PM.
   
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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 8th 2009, 09:28 PM

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Originally Posted by sushi_error View Post
The Taliban are no longer in power and have not been in power since the United States along with Great Britain drove them out in October 2003. After the insurgency, the U.S. appointed Hamid Karzai as president and he has been in power since. However, there has been an obvious Taliban resurgence in various parts of Afghanistan. In reality, Karzai barely has control of his country, hence why Afghanistan is such an unstable state.
Yes, I know - one of the suggestions to dealing with the law was abandoning Afghanistan to military insurgency until they submit to our point of view. What I was asking was, wouldn't this allow the Taliban to regain much of their power, something that the United States has been trying to avoid? Also, a measure like that would only succeed in sentencing to death the very people the UN is seeking to protect.


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"Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just,
then they will not care how devout you have been,
but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life
that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
Marcus Aurelius
   
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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 9th 2009, 12:27 AM

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Yes, I know - one of the suggestions to dealing with the law was abandoning Afghanistan to military insurgency until they submit to our point of view. What I was asking was, wouldn't this allow the Taliban to regain much of their power, something that the United States has been trying to avoid? Also, a measure like that would only succeed in sentencing to death the very people the UN is seeking to protect.
I figured that was what you meant after re-reading your question a couple of times.

Honestly, I doubt there is much the UN can do as this is an internal problem and as I mentioned above, states have national sovereignty. The only thing they can do is put a lot of pressure on Afghanistan and not giving support to the Afghan people would be a terrible mistake.


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How did Mandela get the will to surpass the everyday,
When injustice had him caged and trapped in every way,
How did Ghandi ever withstand the hunger strikes and all,
Didn't do it to gain power or money if I recall,
It's to give; I guess I'll pass it on

- Take a Minute, K'naan
   
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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 10th 2009, 02:12 PM

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But wouldn't that more or less give the Taliban permission to take power in the country, which is something the UN (or at least US) is trying to prevent?
Nah, I said they'd never do it, just use the implicit threat. After all, enough people back home want the soldiers out of there anyway.

In reality the UN would do a big fat nothing because they're rather useless.
   
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Re: Controversial Afghan women's law to be reviewed. - April 10th 2009, 11:00 PM

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Nah, I said they'd never do it, just use the implicit threat. After all, enough people back home want the soldiers out of there anyway.

In reality the UN would do a big fat nothing because they're rather useless.
Ha, that is so true. About the UN I mean.


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"Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just,
then they will not care how devout you have been,
but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life
that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
Marcus Aurelius
   
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