Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Monday, November 03, 2003
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Afghanistan Drafts A Constitution

The draft Afghan constitution*:

We the people of Afghanistan:

1. With firm faith in God Almighty and relying on His mercy, and Believing in the Sacred religion of Islam,
2. Observing the United Nations Charter and respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
3. Realizing the injustice and shortcoming of the past, and the numerous troubles imposed on our country,
4. While acknowledging the sacrifices and the historic struggles, rightful Jehad and resistance of the Nation, and respecting the high position of the martyrs for the freedom of Afghanistan,
5. Understanding the fact that Afghanistan is a single and united country and belongs to all ethnicity residing in this country,
6. For consolidating, national unity, safeguarding independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country,
7. For establishing a government based on people's will and democracy,
8. For creation of a civil society free of oppression, atrocity, discrimination, and violence, based on rule of law, social justice, protection of human rights, and dignity, and ensuring fundamental rights and freedoms of the people,
9. For strengthening of political, social, economic, and defensive institutions of the country,
10. For ensuring a prosperous life, and sound environment for all those residing in this land,
11. And finally for regaining Afghanistan’s deserving place in the international community,

Have adopted this constitution...

There's been some discussion over at dKos about whether the draft is a good thing. Here's the part of the document that concerns me:

Article One Ch. 1. Art. 1
Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary and indivisible state.

Article Two Ch. 1, Art. 2
The religion of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam. Followers of other religions are free to perform their religious ceremonies within the limits of the provisions of law.

Article Three Ch. 1, Art. 3
In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam and the values of this Constitution.

Given how politicians in the US can (mis)interpret even our most explicit church/state separation, I worry about people's rights in a state where the founding document establishes a state religion. Somebody educate me here: are there Islamic states that are effectively safeguarding the rights of minority faiths?

The other thing that gives me pause is something I blogged about last month. The ATimes reported:

Faced with escalating unrest and an increasingly stronger and more organized guerrilla resistance in Afghanistan, the United States has stepped up efforts to address the country's troubles, including its moves to draw elements of the ousted Taliban back into the political process.

If the Taliban worms its way back into political power, are we going to revert to the bad old days, blowing up Buddhas, denying women basic rights, etc? Does this constitution have enough protections built in? Dunno.

Regardless, I do agree that getting the ball rolling is in general a good thing. At least they're working on establishing fundamental institutions. Let's see what comes out of the Loya Jirga next month.


* The Word Doc appears to be password protected, so no copy and pasting is possible (at least for someone with my Word skills). However, I printed it to a PDF, which you can C&P from. If anybody wants a copy, just drop me a request in the comments section--enough requests, and I'll upload to my website and link. PDF uploaded. 

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