Female Delegates Win Clear Definition of Citizen in Afghanistan's Constitution
Female delegates of Afghanistan's Loya Jirga won one of their major demands. The final draft of the constitution now states that all citizens of Afghanistan, both men and women, have equal rights under the law. According to IRIN News, a female delegate said, "This is one of the major demands of women and we hope it will not be rejected or changed by others."
However, the Reconciliation Committee agreed to amend Article 3 of the Constitution to say that legislation cannot contravene "the beliefs and provisions" of Islam, reports the Associated Press. This leaves women's rights and human rights in many areas vulnerable to extreme interpretations of Islam. Efforts to weaken constitutional language requiring Afghanistan to abide by international treaties and conventions may also be under attack. In addition, it is unclear whether the current draft contains essential rights protections such as protection from forced marriage, early marriage, or trafficking.
According to the New York Times, the debate around the constitution has moved away from topics such as Islam, women's rights, and human rights and has turned to the struggle between the Pashtuns and the Tajiks. There has been fierce debate over the issues about the accountability of the president, the official languages of Afghanistan, and whether ministers can hold dual nationality, reports BBC News.
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Farkhunda, who was an Islamic law student, accused a local Mullah of acting inappropriately. . . .
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Reid says that the two measures, an infrastructure bill on highway funding, and reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are "very complicated issues," that require the Senate's attention "before we even deal with [the Trans-Pacific Partnership]."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade agreement currently being promoted by the Obama Administration, has been heavily criticized by humanitarian groups, environmental groups, and medical groups. . . .