Kabul Declaration on Women’s Rights
Declaration of the Participants of the international conference “Family Law and
Women’s Rights in Muslim Countries: Perspective and Lessons Learned”
Afghan Civil society has been at the forefront of the defense of women’s rights and
human rights in Afghanistan throughout decades of war. Afghanistan’s civil society
organizations and institutions have actively lobbied branches of the Afghan government
and Parliament on several laws concerning the rights of women and children. These
activities have included working with the Constitution Commission and lobbying at
constitutional Loya Jirga in favour of Juvenile Justice codes and a law to eradicate
violence against women. Taking the opportunity of the forum of today’s conference we
declare the following:
We, the participants of the international conference “Family Law Reforms and Women’s
Rights in Muslim Countries: Perspective and Lessons Learned”, held on April 6, 2009, in
Kabul Afghanistan, support the decision of the government of Afghanistan to review the
Shiite Personal Status Law in consultation with the Afghanistan Parliament. The Shiite
Personal Status Law must include provisions for the protection and respect of women and
children’s human rights, consistent with the Afghanistan Constitution and international
commitments and treaties ratified by Afghanistan.
We believe that while it is important to respect the human rights of all minorities, as
enshrined in the Afghanistan Constitution, laws should protect the human rights of all
Afghan women and children according to the principles and values stated in the
We emphasize on the importance of the family in our society, we believe that:
The family should establish a lawful and secure space for support and
development of each member; therefore the relationships in the family should be
centered on mutual respect based on Islamic values.
Islamic and universal values such as: equity, tolerance, justice and human dignity
should be the centre of all human relations in the family.
The family environment should enable the full participation and enjoyment of
rights of all members.
We urge the Ministry of Justice and the Afghanistan Parliament to take this opportunity
1. Include gender sensitive legal experts representing civil society in the processes
of review and drafting of this law and all other laws concerning the rights of
citizens of Afghanistan.
2. Consider the amendment of the Shiite Personal Law Status and other laws in
accordance with more inclusive Shariah Jurisprudence corresponding to human
rights values enshrined in the Afghan Constitution.
3. Consider the recommendations issued by the ‘Family Law Drafting Committee’
already submitted to Afghanistan’s Parliament and the Ministry of Justice, which
are the results of wide consultations with civil society and human rights experts.
4. Conduct inclusive, timely and transparent consultations on Shiite Family Law and
on all other laws respecting legal democratic procedures.
We strongly urge the international community to continue to engage the government of
Afghanistan and Parliament on the human rights of women and children and to provide
support to Afghan civil society advocacy efforts to develop a culture of human rights and
promote democratic values.
We urge the wider Afghan civil society to actively engage in efforts to promote and
protect the human rights of women and children, to ensure that these rights are
guaranteed and codified in all Afghan laws, including the upcoming reform of the Family
Law that is part of the civil code, and the Law for the Eradication of Violence Against
Women. Civil society groups should also support the implementation of the marriage
registration and the new Nikahnama (marriage contract).