Friday, 30 March 2012
AFGHAN WOMEN: PAYING THE PRICE?
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 in a statement outlining the rights and duties of women under Islam. The comments by senior clerics have been welcomed by President Hamid Karzai. Human Rights Watch has expressed concerns that Ulema Council statement as been backed by President Karzai. Human Rights Campaigners suspect that the timing of the statement is no co-incidence, merely part of the president's outreach to the Taliban. This statement may be part of a push to do a peace deal with the insurgents, activists fear that the Afghan leader may be willing to sacrifice women's rights, as part of a policy of placating the Taliban as part of the negotiations. One result is that Afghan women may end up losing out in any deal with the insurgents and the limited progress made in recent years in relation to women's rights could soon be rolled back as part of a peace deal.