Petition to amend the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law in Afghanistan
Earlier this year, we worked with Medica Afghanistan to review the newly enacted Anti-Sexual Harassment Law in Afghanistan. After the review, Medica Afghanistan issued a Petition to the Presidential Office urging His Excellency, President Ashraf Ghani not to ratify the Law.
The Petition can be viewed by the link below.
1. On behalf of the Afghanistan Women’s Network, Medica Afghanistan submits this Petition
to Your Excellency’s Office to bring to your urgent attention, the Anti-Sexual Harassment
Law (“the Petition”).
2. The law which comprise 3 Chapters and 29 Articles, was approved by a Parliamentary
majority and passed by the Wolesi Jirga on 19 Akrab 1395 (9 November 2016), pursuant
to Articles 24 and 54 of the Constitution (the “Law”). We were informed that the law has
been submitted to Your Excellency’s Office for formal assent, pursuant to Article 64(16) of
the Afghanistan Constitution.
3. We humbly petition Your Excellency’s Office not to ratify the law on the basis that the law
is incomplete, replete with errors and largely unenforceable. Further, it is likely to lead to
mishandling of complaints and cause harm to survivors who are depending on the law for
redress and justice.
4. This Petition concerns a matter of constitutional importance. The freedom to live, work and
move without being sexual harassed is a constitutional right under the Afghanistan
Constitution. It is a matter of:
(a) Preserving human dignity and protecting human rights (Article 6);
(b) Observing international human rights treaties (Article 7);
(c) Upholding equality and non-discrimination between men and women (Article 22);
(d) Upholding the right to liberty and dignity (Article 24);
(e) Upholding the right of work (Article 48);
(f) Upholding the right of education for women (Article 44);
(g) Creating a healthy administration, realizing reforms in the administrative system and
performing duties with complete neutrality (Article 50);
(h) Compensating individuals for harms caused by the State without due cause (Article
5. Women and children in Afghanistan are sexually harassed daily, causing them to fear their
surroundings, suffer mental trauma, resign from their jobs and drop out of school and social
activity. To combat sexual harassment, it is imperative that the law is (1) precise, (2)
complete, (3) comprehensive, (4) enforceable, and, (5) that proper mechanisms,
procedures and remedies are created to meet their needs.
6. It is on this basis that we submit this Petition for reasons, explained in the Petition attached.