Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fwd: Stop the Anti-Women Gag Rule

Dear friends,

Afghan reactionary lawmakers are trying to pass a law to ensure that family members can never testify as witnesses. This is a green light for more women and girls to be abused at home, but some courageous politicians are fighting back and say our outcry could make the difference! Sign now to stand with Afghan women and tell everyone!
Sold into marriage at 12, Sahar Gul lived in a house of horrors. Her in-laws chained her in the basement, beat her with red hot iron pipes, starved her and pulled out all her fingernails when she refused to prostitute herself for them.

Her attackers' sentence was reduced to a meager one year, and now they're free again! Worse still, the Lower House of Parliament just passed a bill that would ban aggressors' family members from testifying in court. This would prevent countless children and women from ever getting justice.

The Upper House has beaten back anti-women legislation before and high-level officials say the Avaaz community could tip the balance and help stop the bill before it goes to a vote. But to do that, we need to act fast. Click below to sign this urgent petition now -- when we reach 1 million signers we'll launch a massive local media campaign targeting key senators until the bill is dumped:

As a child, Sahar Gul was sold by her brother for $US 5,000 into a home of horrific abuse. When she was finally rescued, torture left her so weak that she came out of her basement prison in a wheelbarrow. Last year her tormentors received 10-year sentences, but a lower court judge just set them free.

Afghan women's rights groups, aghast at the rolling back of their rights have been actively supporting Sahar Gul's case and working to ensure that relatives aren't banned from testifying against victim's aggressors. If we join these brave women now, we can show the Afghan politicians that the entire world stands behind Afghan women.

In school now, Sahar Gul is courageously rebuilding her life -- her dream is to someday lead a women's rights organization. Her strength of spirit embodies the hope for a better future for women and girls in Afghanistan, and everywhere -- let's help her start fulfilling her dream by getting Afghan leaders to protect, not persecute women:

Afghan women's rights advocates and extraordinary survivors of abuse have stepped forward time and again to fight for human rights. Over the years, Avaaz members from around the world have consistently rallied to back them up. Let's do it again.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Alaphia, Alex, Ricken, Bissan, Mais and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS - Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue - local, national or global:


Sahar Gul: The fears of a tortured Afghan child bride (BBC)

Karzai: A legacy of failure on women's rights? (Open Democracy)

Afghan judges free three jailed for torture of child bride Sahar Gul (Guardian)

Afghanistan: Escalating Setbacks for Women (Human Rights Watch)

Women's rights face new obstacles in Afghanistan (Global Post)

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