URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SECRETARY KERRY TO STAND WITH AFGHAN WOMEN

PETITION BACKGROUND

The roll back of women’s rights in Afghanistan, already off to a strong start ahead of the troop withdrawal, continues apace as conservatives in parliament signal the Taliban their readiness to deal. Both houses of the Afghan parliament have just passed a law that virtually provides impunity to those who engage in such violations of women’s human rights as domestic violence, forced and/or child marriage, and sales of children by preventing relatives of the assailant who are witnesses to these crimes from testifying in court, even voluntarily.
 
Women for Afghan Women (WAW) asks President Karzai not to sign the law, which eviscerates the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women that he signed in 2009. That law criminalized for the first time many acts against women, including rape and child/forced marriage. Although weakly enforced, it has provided a legal basis for protection of women without which there is no rule of law in Afghanistan. Without which, there is rule of barbarians.
 
WAW’s 28 Family Guidance Centers, shelters, halfway houses and other centers in 10 provinces of Afghanistan have served about 10,000 women and girls, most of whom have been victims of a long list of gender-based acts that violate every convention in the civilized world on women’s and child rights. Women seeking shelter and protection at these facilities and those run by other women’s human rights NGOs include victims whose in-laws, husbands, fathers, and sons have broken their arms and legs, chopped off lips, tongues and noses, pulled out fingernails, sold them, stabbed them and left them for dead.
 
Silencing witnesses, who include not only relatives of the accused but physicians who have examined the victim, does far more than allow these acts to occur with impunity. It encourages them to take place. It is the strongest evidence to date that the subjugation of women to tyranny will be ok when the tyrants arrive in force in Afghanistan.
 
In addition to urging President Karzai not to sign the law, WAW urges the presidential candidates to take a position on the issue as an indication of their commitment to Afghan women’s rights. Above all, we ask people and governments in the developed world who value justice, and especially the United States government, which has promised not to abandon the women of Afghanistan, to shout out loud and clear their refusal to accept this assault on women’s rights.
 
WAW is determined to take further action ensuring that this law does not pass.   

President Obama and Secretary Kerry,

On behalf of the Afghan people and people throughout the world who believe universal human rights are the foundation of all civilized societies, we
 implore you, our government, to fight against the law recently passed by the Afghan Parliament. 


The law brazenly denies justice to women and children in Afghanistan, undermines any progress in the rule of law there, and dishonors the men and women who have risked their lives and even died fighting for peace and justice in that country. Progress on women's rights has occurred in Afghanistan because the Afghan people want it.

We ask you make a strong statement against this law urgently and openly so that the American people can take pride in a government that after a long silence finally takes a stand for women's rights in Afghanistan and symbolically for women's rights around the world.

 

If America does not take a strong stand against this law and any other developments that put the lives and human rights of the Afghan people in peril, we will be complicit in the abuse and torture of women and children, which this law sanctions and even encourages.

Please renew the commitment of our country not to abandon the women of Afghanistan.

Update #12 years ago
AMAZING NEWS: The advocacy efforts of WAW and all our sister organizations -- and all of you who signed and shared the petitions -- succeeded!

http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/afghan-president-responds-concerns-over-law

Thanks to international pressure, President Karzai has asked for the draft of the law to be amended! We will stay vigilant to make sure the amendments respect the human rights of all Afghans.

Congratulations to us all for coming together as a powerful force for justice!
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