This controversial Shia personal status law, published in the country’s official Gazette (Gazette 988), regulates the personal affairs of Afghanistan’s Shia population. It regulates divorce and separation, inheritance, and age of marriage.
This groundbreaking collection traces the history of women's rights and roles in Afghanistan over the past 30 years; it examines the current human rights crisis, and suggests realistic solutions for post-war Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is one of the case studies in this report which provides an assessment of the nature of women’s property rights in regions affected by conflict. The report reviews property rights programmes funded by donors in post conflict situations and teases out major policy and programmatic lessons. It also examines the importance of land rights and the status of women in societies that have strong customary norms and practices relating to land. Keywords: Afghanistan, conflict, customary norms.
This section explains that although inheritance laws in Afghanistan based on the Shariah assigns women precisely defined shares of an estate according to detailed genealogical consideration, local custom supersedes these laws, to the effect that women with exceptions are not considered heirs. Women are considered part of a man’s estate rather than heirs.
This desk study provides an analysis of the constraints and discrimination that women face with respect to access to rural land with the hope of informing future policy and civil society interventions. The country studies investigate statutory and customary discriminations, and they attempt to place the theme of women’s access to land into a larger socio-cultural frame of reference.
Land and livestock are considered to be key assets for rural livelihoods, yet little is known about the factors that enable or constrain different women’s access to these, what ownership mean in practice nor about women who come forward to claim these rights. This study of rural villages Badakshan, Bamiyan and Kabul province sought to examine these issues in greater depth. The findings show that while women in the study villages (who represented a range of religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds) have a great deal of involvement in agriculture, few own land or livestock themselves.
When the U S Agency for International Development (US AID) sought bids in March 2010 for a $140 million land reform program in Afghanistan, it insisted that the winning contractor meet specific goals to promote women's rights: The number of deeds granting women title had to increase by 50 percent; there would have to be regular media coverage on women's land rights; and teaching materials for secondary schools and universities would have to include material on women's rights. Before the contract was awarded, USAID overhauled the initiative, stripping out those concrete targets.
This article argues that customary laws have been the main source of justice in Afghanistan and that the Constitution of 2004 is tacit on customary law, and permits the practice of customary law provided it does not interfere with principles of Muslim Laws.