Congress and International Organizations Urge Women's Rights and Security
At a House hearing on Afghanistan and its draft constitution, several members of Congress, administration officials, and representatives of international organizations pressed for more protections for women's rights in the constitution and security in Afghanistan. The Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor the State Department Lorne Craner stated, "though the draft makes wide provision for the equal rights of all citizens before the law, the draft does not include a definition of who is a citizen, and does not state that both men and women are citizens." Craner also stated that "more specifics need to be mentioned, such as outlawing discrimination against women, forced and underage marriages, full rights of marriage, divorce, and inheritance for women so that their rights are preserved and protected from possible extremist interpretations."
T. Kumar, Advocacy Director for Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International USA, stated that he found it shocking to see that there is "no mention of women's rights" in the current draft of the constitution. Kumar and Representative Rohrabacher (R-CA) also expressed concerns that "citizen" is not defined as both male and female Afghans to ensure equal access to rights. In fact, Rohrabacher went on to say that the constitution needs to have a bill of rights that ensure that "women have equal rights."
Amnesty International USA recommended that the Bush Administration increase its financial assistance to rebuild Afghanistan with earmarks for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and the Judicial Commission.
The Vice President of the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International USA urged the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) size and mandate to keep Afghanistan from becoming a failed state.
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .