Afghanistan Passes a Law that “Legalizes” Rape

Seeking allies for the upcoming election Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai signed the Shia Family Law which negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, approves child marriage, and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home. While Americans are considering the military challenges in Afghanistan, there are also political and human rights issues that Obama administration also must address.

As the The Independent points out, this law is reminiscent of the hard line Taliban regime. International media criticism of Karzai’s decision has been severe. The Daily Mail ran a headline that asked if Karzai was as bad as the Taiban.

Shinkai Karokhail, a female member of the Afghan national parliament explained why the law was passed now, ‘It’s about votes. Karzai is in a hurry to appease the Shia because the elections are on the way.’ The controversial section in the law is Section 132 which states, “states that women must obey their husband’s sexual demands and that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least ‘once every four nights’ when traveling, unless they are ill.”

Afghanistan passes a law that takes away the need for sexual consent from a wife, and we hear nothing from the Obama administration. I understand the political realities surrounding Karzai’s fragile regime, and the U.S. worries that any criticism could embolden Karzai’s opposition, but if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration want to be a champion of human rights, they can’t pick and choose where they criticize based on political expediency.

In fact, here is what Hillary Clinton said in her speech at the International Conference on Afghanistan, “The status of Afghanistan’s army, the lives of women and girls, the country’s education and health systems are far better today than they were in 2001. So if all of us represented here work with the government and people of Afghanistan, we will help not only to secure their future, but ours as well.”

I don’t think that the Shia Family Law makes life better for women and girls in Afghanistan. Just like any other administration, President Obama should not get a free pass on human rights issues. In my opinion, Democrats should be held more accountable on human rights issues, because they tend to campaign on them.

4 Replies to “Afghanistan Passes a Law that “Legalizes” Rape”

  1. During the campaign, Obama basically listed his three priorities:




    All the rest of the complex issues of the world, he pretty much is going to let the power structure do what it does. US foreign policy has been devoid of any real concern on human rights since World War II and even then, there have been questions on some of the foreign policy choices made. The US Military Industrial complex is powerful and will push for a usage of our weapons so they can get more money to make more. It would be nice if a US administration would stand up for human rights all around the world, but to do so, it would take a stronger grassroots push from US citizens to make this a priority. While so many of our fellow americans are as blissfully unaware of the difference between Iran and Iraq. For them to also view these “others” as human beings deserving of human rights is a bigger stretch.

    I do hope we can awaken more americans to the need to stand up for human rights, but the challenges of many of our every day lives makes it difficult for many of our compatriots to care about little more than making it through to the next day.

  2. My question is if we are sending more to stabilize Karzai and Afghanistan, shouldn’t we be concerned about what exactly we might be stabilizing? I understand, politically, why they are staying quiet, but it is not right.

  3. A female lawmaker said that those other countries who disagreed with this should have put pressure on before it was passed, even though it was passed quickly and without much debate.

    It is pretty sick, why are they so afraid of females that they have to practically enslave them. A man can refuse sex to his wife, even if that is against the Koran, but she cannot use almost the only thing she is supposed to own, her body, to assert herself.
    This means that she can be pregnant all her life. Many of the young girls giving birth in this country (and elsewhere) die in childbirth or get fistulas, which make them be persecuted. Even though a young girl may menstruate, her body is usually not mature enough to give birth, never mind multiple births.
    An Afghan woman wrote that this law at least stops the Shia marrying little girls of age 9, now they must be 16. It also stops temporary marriages, a method that can abuse women and be their version of prostitution.
    Donors can give to Afghan women’s shelters, schools and other helping agencies that help women who leave abusive situations, and of course all evolved men we hope will work on the Afghan men’s fears of having women as intelligent, educated peers.

  4. It’s absolutely hearbreaking that Afghanistan may be passing this law. Your body is your temple and you should be the one to decide what you want to do with it. Things like this make me lose faith in humanity.

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