Published March 31, 2009
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has backed a law that the United Nations Development Fund for Women claims legalizes rape within marriage and forbids women from leaving the house without permission, The Telegraph reported Tuesday.
According to the U.N. the law, which has not been released publicly, says women cannot seek work, education or doctor's appointments unless their husband approves.
The law also allegedly gives sole custody of children to fathers and grandfathers. Opponents of the law accuse Karzai of pandering to the Shia minority whose swing vote is crucial.
While the Afghanistan constitution guarantees equal rights for women, it says the Shia population can settle cases based on Shia law.
Afghanistan would not let the U.N. see a copy of the bill, and a Karzai spokesperson would not comment.