Canadians Must Oppose Afghani Laws Trampling Women's Rights

April 21, 2009, 1:59 PM EST

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the federal government must express in the strongest terms possible the opposition of Canadians to repressive legislation recently passed in Afghanistan aimed at trampling women's rights.

Delegate after delegate spoke out against this legislation recently approved by the Afghanistan parliament. Lewenza reminded delegates of recent events in Afghanistan that are leading to deteriorating safety, security and rights of women in this troubled nation.

"The recent legislation in Afghanistan which prohibits women from doing many things is an absolute disgrace in 2009," Lewenza said. "It is an injustice when they legislate when a woman has sex with her partner, or when a woman leaves or does not leave her home."

When a group of women in Afghanistan protested they were stoned, Lewenza said. He applauded the courage of those women to protest this incredible injustice and urged delegates to always speak out and always fight for human rights.

CAW Council President Tim Carrie stressed that one reason the Canadian government said it was sending troops to Afghanistan was to protect the rights of women and children. But now that the Afghanistan Parliament has approved these repressive laws it's imperative that Prime Minister Harper respond in the strongest terms.

"Harper must indicate that the continued support of Canadian troops in Afghanistan is contingent on the Afghanistan Parliament repealing this repressive legislation," Carrie said.

Maria Pinto, President of CAW Local 673, said the Afghanistan government is unjustly claiming that Western governments have no right to interfere in its culture and religion. They are using this excuse to suppress the rights of women, she said.

Most cultures and religions, despite their many differences, are commonly made up of a set of values that guarantee the rights of all citizens, Pinto said.

Among many other repressive aspects of these laws, women are prevented from going to school. Pinto said this will create a generation of people without the education and the tools to fight back against this oppression.

Delegates unanimously approved a recommendation calling for CAW local unions to send letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressing in the strongest possible terms, Canada's opposition to this repressive legislation.


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