Senators turn down Kubis request with resentment
KABUL (PAN): Lawmakers on Tuesday poured scorn on Jan Kubis, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and UNAMA head, for calling on Afghan authorities to step up their efforts at fully implementing the law on elimination of violence against women.
The upper house members said Kubis's demand was clear interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs, asking foreigners to avoid giving them such advises.
Kubis on Monday said progress in implementing the EVAW law contributed to protecting women from violence in their daily lives.
He said the law was critical, not just for women and girls, but for all of Afghan society. The international community also has firm expectations of the government on increasing respect for women’s rights which affect the assistance it provides to the country, he said.
Last weekend, lower house members blocked legislation on the law, saying some provisions were un-Islamic.
Using executive authority, President Hamid Karzai had created the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women in 2009. Parliament would eventually have to endorse it, however - or not.
Fawzia Kofi, a lawmaker and women's rights activist, brought the legislation up for a vote to prevent a future president from reversing it under pressure from religious groups.
The Wolesi Jirga then decided that the law be discussed by a joint commission before presenting it for a debate in parliament.
Some MPs said clauses like establishing woman shelter houses, fixing the age 18 years for girl marriage and making men bound to seek permission from wives for second, third or fourth marriage were against the teachings of Islam and ran counter to the country's constitution.
Upper house member from southern Zabul province, Zalmai Zabuli, said it was up to the Afghan parliament to endorse or reject a law and foreigners had no right to interfere. He said Kubis remarks were against international norms and a clear meddling in Afghanistan's internal affairs.
He said instead of giving such advises, foreigners should help Afghanistan defend its borders from outside aggression. "Afghanistan is daily attacked from outside while foreigners are watching," he said.
Another house member Maulvi Abdul Wahab Irfan from northern Takhar province held similar views, saying foreigners should shop meddling in Afghanistan matters. He said Islam gave solid rights to men and women and there was no need for other laws in this regard.
Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar also said it was the job of parliament to approve or reject laws and the house needed no suggestion from outsiders.
"Afghans have problems with foreigners. There should be no repetition of such demands from them," he warned.
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