Australia concerned over new Afghanistan laws targeting women
The Australian government said on Monday it is extremely concerned about the new Afghanistan laws that human rights groups believe make it legal for a man to rape his wife, Xinhua reported.
Signed into law by Karzai last month, human rights groups said the laws make it illegal for a woman from Afghanistan's Shia Muslim minority to refuse sex with her husband or to leave home without his permission.
"It is very important that the Afghan government ensures its laws comply with internationally accepted human rights standards," a spokeswoman for the minister said.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop have expressed concern that the laws could severely undermine the rights of women.
"Any law that appears to take away women's rights within marriage, as indicated here, is offensive," Bishop said in a statement.
The laws have drawn international condemnation, including a sharp rebuke from United States President Barack Obama, prompting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to promise a review.
The Australian government has welcomed Karzai's decision to review the draft laws, indicating it would carefully monitor the situation.