[ePrayer – Pray for Afghan government and women]
A new law that banned relatives from testifying against each other was passed by parliament in Afghanistan last month. It awaits final signature from President Hamid Karzai but arouses many concerns. However, Hamid Karzai has recently ordered changes to the draft legislation that would have silenced victims of violence. It may signal a new turn.
The new criminal code, passed by the conservative-dominated Afghan parliament, will prevent relatives of alleged abusers from testifying against them. The consequence is making prosecutions more difficult on domestic violence against women, where relatives are often the only witnesses.
Afghanistan in 2009 enacted its “Elimination of Violence Against Women law” (EVAW) which criminalises domestic violence, forced and child marriage, women persecution, practices that use females to settle disputes, assault and more than a dozen other acts of violence and abuse against women. This new Afghan law is thus a backward step in the advance towards justice.
Afghan women faced unfair treatment when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001. It is expected that this situation will be improved after the fall of the Taliban. Yet, according to various surveys, women’s rights are still at risk. It is believe that it is an attack on women’s rights if no amendments are made. [Guardian, BBC, UN]
Meditate on Hymn:
‘By the Powers for Good’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzqOcwYawJY)
It is the final poem of Dirtrich Bonhoeffer in 1944 and later transcribed into a hymn. This is a part of its lyrics:
‘Wonderfully secured by good powers, confidently we expect what may come. God is among us in the evening and in the morning and [so] completely certainly on each new day.’
Afghan women suffer from many difficulties, and their rights and contributions are ignored. They can only strive for their lives. It will be a long journey to see that their situations are improved. May we persist in the faith and hope in our Almighty God and constantly remember them in prayers.
Pray for Afghan government and women, that:
- Afghan government amends the legislation code to allow relatives testifying each other so those acting violence against women can be penalized;
- Afghanistan makes efforts to improve its justice and human rights so women and girls’ rights are secured and legalized;
- Afghan women will gain rights and access to education, work and decision making, developing their talents and living out their value of life and dignity.