Afghanistan post-2001, a new stage taken into account in securing women’s rights, particularly in the legal dimension. New constitution of Afghanistan which was drafted in one and a half decade, basically and unprecedentedly recognized women’s rights and has assigned equal status with men in human dignity. Current constitution, considered equal citizenship rights of women to men compare with previous constitutions of Afghanistan, and from this point we can say it is one of the best constitution in the region.
Constitution of every country is the highest legal document of that country, which other laws are written according to this law. In addition to defining political principles, determining structure, hierarchy, position and political power limits of state in the constitution, the rights of citizens of a country are ensured and determined, too.
Women rights in the constitution of Afghanistan
Women’s rights as a human, citizen and an Afghan are mentioned equally in all articles of the constitution; that is about securing human rights of Afghan citizens is used words that give general meaning and includes both sex, but in some cases, even women as vulnerable stratum needing special protections, have specifically been paid more attention to them.
Let’s take a brief look at Afghan women’s rights in the constitution:
I. Social rights
1. Equality and discrimination negation: equality and non-discrimination ruling, are the fundamentals that all human rights are founded on them. The right to equality and gender and human equality are prominently and fundamentally reflected in the article twenty two of Afghanistan’s constitution: “any kind of discrimination and privilege between the citizens of Afghanistan are prohibited. Citizens of Afghanistan men and women have equal rights and duties before the law.”
2. The right to special protection: according to the constitution women as the center and family-oriented deserve a special protection and therefore, the state is obliged to protect the mother (the woman), according to the content of article fifty fourth: “the state takes needed measure in order to meet the physical and mental health of the family, specially of child and mother, upbringing children and for eliminating traditions contrary to the sacred religion of Islam.”
3. The right to education: Afghanistan’s constitution has special attention on women’s education; in a way that in the article forty fourth, the state is obliged to create balance on women’s education: “the state is obliged to plan and apply effective programs in order to create balance and develop education for women.” And from the content of forty sixth and forty seventh provisions stressed on the equality rights in education.
4. The right to citizenship: equality to citizenship is clearly understood from the article fourth, clause third and openly mentioned that “the word Afghan applies to every individual of Afghan people. No member of the nation cannot be deprived of the citizenship of Afghanistan… .
5. The right to work and employment: it is asserted in the article forty eighth that “work is a right of every Afghan, working hours, paid holidays, employment and employee rights and other related matters are organized by law …” the benefit of the provision clearly shows that women are equal in the right to employment and enjoyment of all working benefits with men.
6. Right to health: women like men are entitled to benefit from all health care privileges of the country fairly and equally. The article fifty second of country’s constitution stresses that “the state provide first aid kit and treatment of disease and free health facilities for all citizens in accordance with the provisions provided by law…”
II. Administrative-political rights
1. The right to participate in political affairs and management: women like men can have political participation in the national and international scene; women have the right to participate and have active role in the country’s political and management affairs. Article thirty three states that “the citizens of Afghanistan have the right to choose or to be elected and …” and article fourth asserts that “national sovereignty in Afghanistan belongs to the nation that exerts directly or through its representatives” and “the nation of Afghanistan consists of all individuals who have the citizenships of Afghanistan …”
According to the constitution, women can nominate and be selected in the highest level of country’s administrative-management like presidency too, and this shows that legally there is no ceiling to promote women to higher positions.
Beyond this, special support in election and strengthening and expanding participation and women presence in various dimension, and the constitution in article eighty third in relation to women MPs in Wolsi Jerga commands this way: “in election law measures should be taken, in which electoral system provides general and just representation for all the people of the country and at least two female delegate be member of the Wolsi Jirga, proportionate to the population.” Article eighty fourth of the constitution requires the president that from one third members of Mishrano Jirga, chooses half of them from among the women which is the appointments of the president’s authority. Article forty fourth and fifty fourth defend from women’s rights in this case.
2. The right to judgment: according to chapter seventh of the constitution which is related to judiciary, in the one hundred an eighteenth article, addressed to the conditions of membership in the supreme court which is the highest body of the judiciary and there is no mention to being a man, it can be deduce that women’s judgment is not precluded according to the constitution.
III. Economic rights
1) The right of ownership: contents of article fortieth of the constitution asserts that “ownership is safe from conflicts. No body shall be forbidden from owning property and requiring it, unless in law-limits …”
The word no one is a common negation and includes both man and woman.