Afghanistan

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Afghanistan has long suffered from chronic instability and conflict. The Taliban’s oppression of women in Afghanistan during their rule from 1996 through 2001 is well documented and included restricting movement, the denial of the right to work, beatings and other physical abuse, arbitrary detention, a near ban on girls’ access to education and restricted access to health services.[1] 
Following the fall of the Taliban, a new window of opportunity for women has opened thanks to the 2001 Bonn Agreement, a new constitution and increased emphasis on gender mainstreaming.[2] The Bonn Agreement called for specific attention to the role of women and established a dedicated government structure for this purpose, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.[3]  
Article 22 of the 2004 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan provides that the citizens of Afghanistan have equal rights and duties before the law. In 2003, Afghanistan ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The legal system of Afghanistan combines Islamic, statutory and customary rules.[4] The supreme law of the land is the Constitution of the Islamic Republic Afghanistan of 2004. Additionally, there is complex legislation which stems from different historical periods. Legislation promulgated before 2004 is valid only as far as it is in compliance with the principles and provisions of the Constitution.[5] Article 130 of the Constitution establishes that judges must apply the Constitution and statutory legislation, and may only resort to Hanafi fiqh (i.e. one of the Schools of Islamic Law) if a necessary legal rule cannot be found in the written laws.[6]


[1] Human Rights Watch (2010), p. 16 [2] Women for Women International (2009), p. 6 [3] World Bank (2005) [4] Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (n.d.) [5] Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (n.d.) [6] Afghan Ministry of Justice 
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