Karzai Orders Review of Controversial Afghan Marriage Law

An update to a story we’ve covered on Dispatch:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he has ordered a review of a new law that critics say could legalize marital rape and restrict women’s rights.

President Karzai said the Justice Ministry will study the law “very carefully.” He vowed that if there is anything of concern, it will be sent back to parliament. The Afghan leader said concerns may have arisen because of mistranslation or misinterpretation.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday was among several world leaders who sharply criticized the law, which is intended to regulate family life within Afghanistan’s Shi’ite community.

At a news conference in France, Mr. Obama called the law “abhorrent” and said his administration’s views had been communicated to the Karzai government.

The United Nations Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay, said the legislation bars women from refusing sex with their husbands unless they are sick, and it forbids them from leaving their homes without their husband’s permission. 

The law is an abomination and hopefully the international outcry is having an effect.