Afghanistan – Shia Personal Status Law of 2009

  • Country: Afghanistan
  • Law status: Discriminatory law in force
  • Law Type: Marriage, Divorce, Polygamy & Wife Obedience

Article 123 of Afghanistan’s Shia Personal Status Law of 2009 provides that the household’s supervision is solely the right of the husband and restricts a wife’s right to leave the home.

Article 123. (1) The household’s supervision is the right of the husband, unless based on the husband’s mental deficiency, and by order of the court, it is given to the wife.

(2) A wife can leave the house for legal purposes to the extent that local custom allows . . .

Link to full law


In 2009, the government of Afghanistan enacted the Shia Personal Status Law (applicable to the Shia population of Afghanistan), which contains a number of discriminatory provisions, including the ones highlighted above.

Article 22 of the Constitution of Afghanistan: Any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.

Sex discrimination in marital status laws renders women and girls subordinate in many aspects of family relations before, during and after marriage.

Laws which allow the man to be designated as the head of the household allow the husband to unilaterally make decisions that may affect the rest of the family. Further, laws restricting a woman’s movement outside the home can contribute to them being trapped in abusive situations and as well as prevent them from working. 

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Call on President Ashraf  Ghani to turn words into deeds.

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