Canada Condemns New Afghan Law

Canadian Minister of State Yelich visits family support line in Afghanistan.

Canada's Minister of State for Foreign and Consular Affairs expressed "deep concern" about a provision in Afghanistan's new Revised Criminal Code that prohibits relatives of accused criminals from serving as witnesses during investigations and trials. An article by Jessica Hume for Toronto Sun.

Canada has condemned a law currently making its way through the Afghan parliament amid mounting concerns over negotiations between the country's president, Hamid Karzai and the Taliban.

Minister of State for Foreign and Consular Affairs, Lynne Yelich expressed "deep concern" about legislation that would bar police from interviewing family members of criminal suspects.

The legislation, which Parliament passed and now awaits Karzai's signature, has been widely condemned by human rights groups and governments for its effective silencing of victims, particularly of sexual assault and domestic violence. Observers say it threatens already precarious women's rights in a country that has seen a rise in violent attacks against female police officers, officials and civilians in the past year.

"If adopted, this legislation could seriously hamper the investigation of crimes - particularly those against Afghan women and girls, including sexual and domestic violence and child, early and forced marriage - in which the accused is a relative," Yelich said in a statement. "This law would further limit protections for those who need it most, make it harder to hold perpetrators accountable and deny victims access to justice."

Additional concerns surround recent peace talks between Karzai and the Isamist Taliban, a hardline group that controlled Afghanistan from 1996 and has been struggling to regain control since.

Numerous Taliban officials are running in the country's presidential elections in April. Among the candidates running to replace Karzai is Abdul Rasoul Sayyef, who's been described as "mentor" to the man behind the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.


Originally published on


Read stories from: