Afghanistan,  Women's Rights

International Women’s Day: Women in Afghanistan

The BBC reports

Afghanistan’s top religious council has said women should not mix with men in school, work or other aspects of daily life. The Ulema Council has also said that women should not travel without a male relative. The BBC’s Orla Guerin has been hearing reaction to the ruling from people in Kabul.

The comments by senior clerics – which have been welcomed by President Hamid Karzai – were included in a statement outlining the rights and duties of women under Islam.

Human Rights Watch says it is worrying that the Ulema Council has issued this statement, and that President Karzai has backed it.

As the Guardian reports, the clerics’ ruling implies that violence against women might be acceptable in some circumstances.

“Teasing, harassment and beating of women without a sharia-compliant reason, as set forth clearly in the Glorious Qur’an, is prohibited,” the statement said, although it then called for punishment of those who assault women.

According to a report cited here there has been a 51% rise in violence against women this year.

In this statement for International Women’s Day from the Afghanistan Women’s 50% Campaign and 21 Groups the writers conclude that:

Both the international community and the government of Afghanistan are visibly appeasing the armed opposition groups by returning the society to the conditions of 11 years ago and trading away the human and civil rights of women. The only thing that is not important to them is their pledge to us and to themselves. They have forgotten that the liberation of women in Afghanistan was the most basic reason for their presence in this country.