The Elimination of Violence against Women law was issued by presidential decree in 2009. Fawzia Kufi recently brought the law up for debate in parliament, hoping to strengthen the law by going through the parliamentary approval step. Other people were pretty well aghast at this step, that it would backfire, and end up with the law being gutted.
The decision to seek parliamentary approval for the law had split women activists.The debate started. Conservative MPs spoke for about twenty minutes. Speaker of the House Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi then effectively shut down and tabled the debate.
Some had said opening it up for debate in parliament could pave the way for conservatives to amend it and weaken protection for women - or even throw it out altogether.
The conservative MPs who spoke up against the EVAW law, according to parliament observers, represent a strong group in parliament but because of the lack of official political party-based factions their numerical strength is difficult to measure. According to Reuters, most of those who spoke today are members of the influential Ulema Council. The group could have succeeded in changing the face of the EVAW law, with wide ranging consequences for women in the whole country, but, at this point, the Speaker of the House, Abdul Ra’uf Ibrahimi, elected from Kunduz and known to be close to Hezb-e Islami, stated the draft obviously needed more discussion and referred it back to the Joint Commission. He ended the debate, leaving behind some very angry MPs, some very relieved MPs and an altogether emotional house.
Damage Avoided, for Now? The very short debate about the EVAW law, Afghanistan Analysts Network
News media reporting on the debate is split into two different takes on the matter. In one version, the bill was blocked, and the outcome is negative.
Conservative religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked legislation on Saturday aimed at strengthening provisions providing more freedoms for women...
Afghan lawmakers block law on women's rights, Associated Press
Afghanistan's parliament has blocked women's rights legislation...
Afghanistan's parliament failed to pass a law on Saturday banning violence against women, a severe blow to progress made in women's rights in the conservative Muslim country since the Islamist Taliban was toppled over a decade ago
The law on elimination of violence against women got a negative response from a number of MPs and was dropped from its agenda.
Activists say the move Saturday is a blow to progress made in women's rights in the conservative Muslim country since the ousting of the Taliban from power.
Afghan Lawmakers Block Women's Rights Law, Voice of America
In the other version, the significance of the outcome, positive or negative, is at least a matter for debate.
And now, preserving any protections long-term appears to be in question, as the country’s tiny women’s rights movement faces an unenviable decision: leave intact the only law that attempts to halt such abuses, or continue to present changes to Parliament and run the risk that a growing conservative bloc could dismantle the law entirely.Also, BBC.
Effort to Strengthen an Afghan Law on Women May Backfire, New York Times