Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Widows Learn to Prevent Bird Flu and Keep Chickens
April 16, 2006
Kabul –

The women of Kabul raise around 12.1 percent of Afghanistan’s chickens. For many illiterate widows who have lost their husbands in war, chickens are their only source of income. However, a severe threat to their livelihood came six months ago – bird flu.

The government was pushing to destroy flocks and women were frightened they would not be able to feed their children, reports the Washington Post. According to a recent Post article, “I am too old to do hard work, and my eyes are too weak to embroider,” said Abida, a 50 year old women who lost seven male relatives, including her husband, “I would rather die than kill my chickens.”

In response to the dilemma, a few nonprofit groups forward and taught the women how to properly take care of themselves and their chickens. They were given sanitary instructions on how to avoid the flu.

Serge Verniau, Afghanistan director for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said that with the help of CARE and other organizations teaching women the importance of bird sanitation, success has been made because “the women themselves have taken action.” The FAO official has reported the avian flu is now contained in Afghanistan. There has been no report on human infection. Click here for the full story.

The Afghan Court
April 12, 2006
Kabul –

In Afghanistan it is not uncommon to witness a judge taking a smoking break or talking on his cell phone during a trial. It is also common to have an illiterate judge, or at least one who is barely literate. Some think it is because judges earn just $60 a month; but whatever the reasons, most are Islamic clerics with no background of secular laws.

The Economist explains Italy’s part in the mess, saying how their justice system is not without flaws either, making the nation less than qualified to address problems in Afghanistan’s system. Italy “has not been wholly useless,” according to the report, but has made “little improvement.”

Apart from problems with Afghan judges’ qualifications, Afghanistan has acquired a few new laws in recent years. Many are set up to secure a “business-friendly” society. Others are aimed at the drug trade.

In rural areas, courts are ruled by tribal and religious leaders who can easily order executions if they want. For the most part, trials are settled unilaterally. Drug lords, with their heavy amount of ammunition, are seldom bothered by the courts.

Other states, like Malaysia, have founds ways of balancing civil and religious law, yet the Afghan court employs a confusing mix of Western and Islamic Shari’a laws. Currently, more reform lawyers have been nominated to join the court, giving hope to many for the future of Afghanistan.

Terrorists Reportedly Trained in Pakistan, Sent to Afghanistan
April 19, 2006

Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) Newsline reports that an Afghan leader has accused Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of being involved in terrorist trainings. Asadullah Wafa, governor of a Northeastern Afghan Province said Monday that neighboring Pakistan has been training terrorists to send into Afghanistan. The Konar government also claimed that a rocket that killed six Afghan students had come from Pakistani territory.

World Net Daily reported in related news that the money for the Taliban is coming from Iran and Russia. Hamid Mir, the only journalist to conduct face-to-face interviews with Osama bin Laden, has told both the President of Afghanistan and Pakistan that the Taliban has experienced a resurgence and is ready to take on the regime of Hamid Karzai.

Temporary Marriages in Afghanistan
April 19, 2006
Mazar-I-Sharif –

The idea of marriages lasting for a few days to a few years was recently adopted in Afghanistan from Iran. Though the Sunni Muslims ban temporary marriages or ‘feghas’, Shiites accept them.

Rather than paying a dowry, which is expensive and unaffordable to many, a couple will take an oath in front of a mullah. “Short marriages have a lot of benefits for women whose husbands have died,” Nazira says, adding “It helps them look after their children better and they don't need to go out for sex. Also, we don't have to pay for a wedding party because with a short marriage we just go to a mullah.” The dowry can often exceed $3,000.

Some, such as Mullah Azizullah Mofley, a Sunni cleric, believes the marriages are just a way for young people to have sex, only to end the marriage a few hours or days later. Others say it is just a way to see how compatible a couple is. Nader Nadery, from the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, says the contract marriage is not a way to legitimize sex but an attempt to find a practical solution to difficult circumstances like poverty, AFP reports. Click here for the full story.


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