Labor women – supporting rape in marriage
A friend wrote a few months ago to Tanya Plibersek, the Labor Government’s Minister for the Status of Women, about the Afghan Government’s rape in marriage laws.
After almost 3 months he received an anodyne public service Sir Humphrey reply which left unsaid the real reason we have troops in Afghanistan – to support US imperialism.
Bugger the consequences for the women and children our troops are killing and bugger the fact that ‘our’ Afghan allies, as the rape in marriage laws show, are the Taliban with a pretence of democracy.
This is what 10 Australian soldiers have died for so far. Labor’s women support imperialism, not other women.
Let’s stop our support for this barbaric regime. Withdraw our troops.
Shame, Plibersek, shame.
My friend’s letter
Dear Ms Plibersek,
I write to you in your position as Minister for the Status of Women.
In so doing, I draw your attention to new Afghanistan laws which restrict women’s right of movement and property ownership, and that legalise rape within marriage < http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/04/what_are_we_fighting_for.html >.
I further draw your attention to comments by Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who says the laws violate women’s rights < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7981340.stm>. France’s Human Rights Minister Rama Yade is also reported as expressing her “sharp concern” at the laws, saying it “recalls the darkest hours of Afghanistan’s history”.
Some legitimate questions arise for you and the Rudd Labor Government.
1) Do you agree with the Nato Secretary General that the Karzai Government laws violate women’s rights?
2) Have you discussed the laws with Foreign Minister Smith or Prime Minister Rudd since their passage in February?
3) If so, has Australia expressed its repugnance to the Karzai Government?
4) Do you support the use of Australian troops in Afghanistan, 10 of whom have already died, to protect a government whose laws violate women’s rights?
5) Australia is reported to have about 1,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. Do you support an increase in that number?
< http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7981340.stm> < http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/04/what_are_we_fighting_for.html > < http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090403.wnato0403/BNStory/Front/home > < http://news.google.com.au/news?um=1&ned=au&cf=all&ncl=1325594642 >
Thank you for your email of 5 April 2009 regarding the introduction of the controversial new ‘Shia Family Law’ in Afghanistan. I apologise for the delay in replying.
The Government shares your concern about the passing of these laws and the effects it will have on the women of Afghanistan.
As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its accompanying Optional Protocol, Australia is committed to promoting and protecting women’s rights domestically and abroad.
As a fellow signatory to the CEDAW, Afghanistan has made an international commitment to also protect women’s human rights. The Australian Government has stated it is important that the Afghan Government ensures its laws comply with international human rights standards and to the Afghan Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for men and women.
As this important issue falls within the portfolio responsibility of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Stephen Smith MP, I have raised my concerns directly with him and provided him with a copy of your correspondence for his information.
Once again, thank you for your letter advocating on behalf of the women of Afghanistan.