Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - More than 200 male students protested in Kabul
yesterday against women's rights, calling for the repeal of a presidential
decree on the 'Elimination of Violence Against Women', which they say is
The decree bans child and forced marriage, makes
domestic violence a crime and says that rape victims cannot be prosecuted for
adultery. It also outlaws "ba'ad," a traditional practice of exchanging women
or girls to settle disputes or debts.
The protest came days after conservative lawmakers blocked
an attempt to turn the decree into law.
Mawladad Jalali, the mullah of the university mosque,
was one of the protest's organisers. Yesterday,
he called for parliament to repeal the decree. Demonstrators slammed the decree
"imposed by foreigners" for violating Sharia.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued the decree on
women's rights three years ago as part of a series of commitments to
international donors, but a lawmaker wanted to pass it in parliament to prevent
any future president from reversing it.
The parliamentary speaker ended the debate Saturday after
fierce opposition from conservative lawmakers who said several provisions-including
the ban on child marriage and jail time for domestic abuse-violated Islamic
The decree remains in force, but the debate appears to
have roused opposition to it.
In another worrisome sign for activists, the
international group Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that the number of women
and girls jailed for alleged loose morals is the highest since the ouster of
the Taliban, even though most of those detained are victims of abuse and have
committed no crime under Afghan civil law.