STRASBOURG, France — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to keep “enormous pressure” on the government of Afghanistan to ensure women’s rights in that country are respected.

Asked about a new Afghan law that critics say makes it legal for men to rape their wives, Harper said Saturday during a news conference following a NATO summit in France that Ottawa is “troubled” by the new legislation and will work with the Afghan government “to move this back in the right direction.”

The controversial law, which makes it illegal for Shia women to deny sex to their husbands, has caused an international furor, including in Canada, which has lost 116 soldiers and spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan.


U.S. President Barack Obama called the law “abhorrent” Saturday.

He said the law came up in conversations among the allies, and that NATO’s closing statement specifically says that human rights should be respected.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that the law will be studied and possibly sent back to parliament for review.

Latest From ...