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The constitution of Afghanistan and women's rights

Shah, Niaz A.



This article argues that women's human rights were and are being violated in Afghanistan regardless of who governs the country: Kings, secular rulers, Mujahideen or Taliban, or the incumbent internationally backed government of Karzai. The provisions of the new constitution regarding women's rights are analysed under three categories: neutral, protective and discriminatory. It is argued that the current constitution is a step in the right direction but, far from protecting women's rights effectively, it requires substantial revamping. The constitutional commitment to international human rights standards seems to be a hallow slogan as the constitution declares Islam as a state religion which clearly conflicts with women's human rights standards in certain areas. The Constitution has empowered the Supreme Court to review whether human rights instruments are compatible with Islamic legal norms and, in case of conflict, precedence will be given to Islamic law. Keeping this in view, it is argued that Afghanistan's ratification of the Women's Convention without reservations has no real significance unless Islamic law dealing with women's rights is reformed and reconciled with international women's rights standards.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2005-01
Journal Feminist Legal Studies
Print ISSN 0966-3622
Electronic ISSN 1572-8455
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 239-258
APA6 Citation Shah, N. A. (2005). The constitution of Afghanistan and women's rights. Feminist legal studies, 13(2), (239-258). doi:10.1007/s10691-005-7543-7. ISSN 0966-3622
Keywords Conflict resolution; Constitution; Incompatibility; Islam; Reservations; Review; Women’s human rights
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