I Stand With Afghan Women

 Afghan women just won a huge victory. After protests led by Afghan women’s groups, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) amended a controversial provision of the draft Afghan Criminal Procedure Code – Article 26 – that would have barred relatives from testifying against each other in criminal proceedings, including in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.  President Hamid Karzai had earlier responded to concerns from Afghan’s women’s organizations about this provision by refusing to sign the Code into law unless MOJ made changes to Article 26.

The Afghan Women’s Network, with over one hundred women-led organizations, came out strongly against the provision, holding a press conference to broadcast their opposition to the bill, and then leading a public protest through the streets of downtown Kabul. Members of the Network highlighted how the law would effectively prevent the government from prosecuting cases of violence against women, embolden perpetrators of that violence, and essentially validate discrimination against women.

Undoubtedly, this is a victory for Afghan women who have been fighting for better enforcement of laws that make violence against women a crime – including rape, domestic assault, honor killings, child marriage, and baad, the practice of resolving disputes by giving away one’s daughters.

But the real lesson here is about the promise and strength of local Afghan women-led civil society organizations. 

Take a pledge with us to support Afghan women and Afghan women’s organizations. Let them know that we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in the fight for women’s and girls’ equality. We will do all we can to ensure that the US continue to support Afghan women’s organizations and empowerment. In this crucial transition period, you can count on our strong support.

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