Hundreds of Afghan women protesting a new Shia family law that would severely restrict women's rights were outnumbered by hundreds of the law's supporters today in Kabul. Some of the women were pelted with small stones. Afghan civil rights and women's rights activists organized the protest, according to the The Guardian. In a statement, the groups said that the law "insults dignity of women as fellow human beings and increases ethnocentrism and inequality."
Masuma Hasani, a 14-year-old protester, told the Associated Press that "I am concerned about my future with this law….We want our rights. We don't want women to just be used." A counter-protester, 24-year-old Mariam Sajadi, told the Associated Press "we don't want foreigners interfering in our lives. They are the enemy of Afghanistan."
According to The Guardian the law contains provisions that would restrict women from leaving their homes, working, going to school, or obtaining medical care without their husbands' permission. The law also includes a provision that women cannot refuse their husbands sex and a provision that grants child custody only to men. Ustad Mohammad Akbari, leader of the Hazara party, told The Guardian that the law gives women the right to refuse sex with their husbands if they are ill or have a "reasonable excuse" and allows women the right to leave their homes without permission in an emergency.
This past weekend, Afghan Ambassador to the US Said Jawad told Bloomberg that the law "will not become the law because it contradicts some important principles of the Afghan constitution" and that President Karzai does not plan to publish it. Jawad also said Karzai signed the law without being aware of all of its provisions and has sent the likely unconstitutional law to be reviewed by the Afghan Ministry of Justice and the Afghan Supreme Court.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 4/14/09; The Guardian 3/31/09, 4/15/09; The Associated Press 4/15/09; Bloomberg 4/11/09
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .