Today, the UK Independent reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has signed the new Shia Family Law, which women’s groups believe will essentially legalize rape. Specifically, the measure “negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home.” Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned against the legislation, called it “one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century.” More details:
The most controversial parts of the law deal explicitly with sexual relations. Article 132 requires women to obey their husband’s sexual demands and stipulates that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least “once every four nights” when traveling, unless they are ill. The law also gives men preferential inheritance rights, easier access to divorce, and priority in court.
A report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, Unifem, warned: “Article 132 legalises the rape of a wife by her husband”.
Critics are charging that Karzai rushed the bill through parliament “in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.” (HT: AMERICAblog)
Jezebel has more, writing, “I guess somebody in the embassy forgot to read Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing testimony in which she promised to elevate the status of women’s rights in foreign policy.”