Afghanistan: WLUML Welcomes Karzai's Postponement of Criminal Procedures Law



Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) welcomes the news that the Afghan President Hamid Karzai has postponed the signing of the new criminal procedure code, passed by both houses of the Afghan parliament.  Article 26 of the code would have effectively denied women protection from domestic violence and forced or child marriage, and would have given immunity to many perpetrators given its ban on relatives testifying against one another.  Through his Cabinet, the President ordered changes to this article.

This positive development would not have been possible without the perseverance of Afghan civil society groups, most especially women’s rights advocates, and their allies at home and abroad.  For now, it remains unclear how the law will go on to be altered.  How decisive President Karzai would be in this, considering the imminent end of his term after the April presidential elections, is also uncertain. Furthermore, Karzai's commitment to women’s rights has been in serious question over the past years, as he has presided over the strengthening of forces opposed to gender equality.

WLUML fully supports the call of Afghan civil society groups for greater vigilance against any setback to women’s rights. The period ahead remains very challenging in securing the fragile gains that have been won for gender equality in the country, and WLUML stands in solidarity with the Afghan women's movement through this time.