[JURIST] The Afghanistan Justice Ministry has proposed new provisions to the nation's penal code that allow for stoning as punishment for adultery, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] Monday. According to the advocacy group the provision of the proposed penal code, drafted by a Justice Ministry led working group, provides that married individuals found guilty of engaging in sexual intercourse outside a legal marriage will be stoned to death. Also included in the draft law is that if the "adulterer" is unmarried the individual faces a sentence of 100 lashes. Under the Taliban regime which ruled Afghanistan from the mid-1990's through the 2001 NATO [official website] intervention stoning was the punishment for adultery and other moral crimes. According to HRW, Afghanistan is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text] which precludes nations with the death penalty from making adultery a capital offense.
Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] has been the target of much criticism [JURIST op-ed] regarding its human rights issues, especially in the wake of the War on Terror [JURIST backgrounder]. In September UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called on the Afghan government to strengthen humans rights efforts [JURIST report] in preparation for presidential elections in April 2014 and the departure of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) [official website] in late 2014. In July a UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] mid-year report indicated [JURIST report] a 23 percent rise in the number of Afghan civilian casualties over the first six months of 2013 as compared to the same period last year. In May UNAMA and UN Women urged [JURIST report] Afghanistan's government to fully respect and defend the fundamental rights of women and girls by ensuring the implementation of and respect for women's rights legislation blocked by parliament [JURIST report].