Afghanistan: Protect women & girls from violence. Don’t sign new law rolling back women’s rights.

17 FEBRUARY 2014 UPDATE:  Your voices were heard! Following intense international advocacy, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has reportedly ordered changes to the new proposed legislation that is threatening the safety and rights of Afghan women and girls. On 17 February, Karzai’s spokesperson is said to have stated that the new “Afghan criminal prosecution code won't come into force unless new amendments are made." Specifically, rewrites were requested to allow a woman or girl who was assaulted by a relative, as well as any close relatives who may have witnessed the attack, to be able to testify against the attacker (Article 26).

Equality Now and our partner, Women for Afghan Women, welcome this news but until the official revisions are made available for review, please continue to keep up the pressure to stop signature of this bill into law.

New legislation recently passed by the Afghan parliament is threatening the safety and security of Afghan women and girls. If signed into law, the effects would be devastating – rapes, beatings and “honor” killings could occur with relative impunity, fathers could more easily arrange child marriages, and women and girls would have little chance of getting justice for violence against them. If a woman or girl is assaulted by a relative, not only would she be prevented from testifying against her attacker, but any other close relative of the accused assailant who was a witness, would also be barred.

The legislation is with President Hamid Karzai for his signature. Please Take Action today!

Afghan women have been fighting for equal rights and protection under the law, and they are in imminent danger of losing their hard won gains. Please stand with Equality Now and our partner, Women for Afghan Women, in urgently calling on President Karzai to not sign the code into law.

Please also support WAW’s petition to President Obama and Secretary Kerry calling on the United States government to live up to its promise to not abandon Afghan women as it prepares for troop withdrawal.

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