Target: Afghan Parliament
Goal: Support a law protecting Afghan women from human rights abuses
On May 16, female legislator Fawzia Koofi brought a bill before parliament to protect Afghan women and girls from abuses such as child marriage, bride barter and spousal abuse. Currently, Afghan women are being protected under President Karzai’s 2009 decree, the Elimination of Violence Against Women Act. However, Koofi is afraid that the act will fade into oblivion after Karzai steps down from office in 2014 due to a very unstable political situation.
Many conservative male lawmakers objected the proposed law, claiming that it was contrary to Islam and Afghan culture. These men do not support raising the minimum marriage age for girls from 9 to 16, imprisoning men for hitting their wives, or allowing women and girls in abusive family situations to seek help from the government and private shelters.This past week, students who are studying Islamic law have been protesting against the bill at Kabul University. Backlash against the bill has even caused some women activists to say that it was a “fatal mistake” to bring the issue of protecting women’s rights to parliament’s attention.
These women activists should not feel guilty for wanting to protect women and girls from abuse, especially since violence towards women in Afghanistan is on the rise. More women are being prosecuted for “moral crimes” that include rape as a form of adultery. Human Rights Watch recently reported that there is an unprecedented number of about 600 women and girls in jail for very broadly defined moral crimes.
With the growing influence of Taliban and NATO forces preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan, the plight of Afghan women will only get worse. Sign this petition to demand that the Afghan Parliament pass the bill to protect women from being abused.
Dear Afghan Parliament,
Violence towards women is on the rise in your country. Last November, a girl was beheaded by two men for refusing a marriage proposal. Also, more women and girls are being prosecuted for moral crimes. It is unjust that such moral crimes include getting raped as a form of adultery. Clearly, women are not being protected despite President Karzai’s 2009 decree to eliminate violence towards women.
Amid uncertain political and security situation, President Karzai’s decree may be denounced after the results of the 2014 upcoming election. Now is the time to pass the proposed law to protect Afghan women and girls from violence. Countless of women should not continue to be victimized because some conservative lawmakers believe the law is in opposition to Islamic rules. Make your country a better and safer place for your people regardless of gender.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Capt. Stacie N. Shafran via Wikimedia Commons