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Women's Rights and Shari'a - A comparative study of marriage and family relations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in the cases of Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen

Ljung, Christina (2003)
Department of Law
Abstract
The rights of women living in societies ruled by laws based on Shari'a constitute a controversial question in the human rights debate in many countries today. Suggestions that these laws are of a divine nature, and as such cannot be overridden by the human rights principles of western origin leads to discussions in several areas, such as the right to religion, the human rights tradition in Muslim countries, the responsibility of states toward their subjects, and the power of the CEDAW Committee. As of today, 171 countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The rights within marriage and at its dissolution are treated in article 16, stating equal rights for women and men in... (More)
The rights of women living in societies ruled by laws based on Shari'a constitute a controversial question in the human rights debate in many countries today. Suggestions that these laws are of a divine nature, and as such cannot be overridden by the human rights principles of western origin leads to discussions in several areas, such as the right to religion, the human rights tradition in Muslim countries, the responsibility of states toward their subjects, and the power of the CEDAW Committee. As of today, 171 countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The rights within marriage and at its dissolution are treated in article 16, stating equal rights for women and men in these matters. CEDAW in general and article 16 in particular shall also be interpreted to encompass violence against women, although this is not explicitly stated in any of the articles of the Convention. Special attention has therefore been given to the aspects of domestic violence and its consequences for women. In this thesis, three countries that recently submitted their reports to the CEDAW Committee, have been selected to constitute the basis for this discussion. The three countries are Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, countries that to some extent share a common history, but today have evolved in very different directions. Egypt and Tunisia have both entered reservations to CEDAW, whereas Yemen has not entered any. Yemen is on the other hand showing great failure in its implementation, while Egypt is making slow progress as its government tries to perform some kind of balancing-act between its international obligations under human rights law and pressure from national neo-Islamic movements. In Tunisia the emancipation of women has come the furthest, but the human rights situation in general is not very good. Many discriminatory customs such as female genital mutilation and child marriage are being promoted as part of Islam when in reality these traditions have other origin. It is my opinion that this fact, if supported by governments and preferably also by laws, could constitute the incitement to abandon these customs. As usual, although it cannot be said too often, it is all a matter of interpretation, and as women are starting to question the grounds for these interpretations, and also contribute with newer ones, there is hope for change. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Ljung, Christina
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Folkrätt
language
English
id
1559798
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:24
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:24
@misc{1559798,
  abstract     = {The rights of women living in societies ruled by laws based on Shari'a constitute a controversial question in the human rights debate in many countries today. Suggestions that these laws are of a divine nature, and as such cannot be overridden by the human rights principles of western origin leads to discussions in several areas, such as the right to religion, the human rights tradition in Muslim countries, the responsibility of states toward their subjects, and the power of the CEDAW Committee. As of today, 171 countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The rights within marriage and at its dissolution are treated in article 16, stating equal rights for women and men in these matters. CEDAW in general and article 16 in particular shall also be interpreted to encompass violence against women, although this is not explicitly stated in any of the articles of the Convention. Special attention has therefore been given to the aspects of domestic violence and its consequences for women. In this thesis, three countries that recently submitted their reports to the CEDAW Committee, have been selected to constitute the basis for this discussion. The three countries are Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, countries that to some extent share a common history, but today have evolved in very different directions. Egypt and Tunisia have both entered reservations to CEDAW, whereas Yemen has not entered any. Yemen is on the other hand showing great failure in its implementation, while Egypt is making slow progress as its government tries to perform some kind of balancing-act between its international obligations under human rights law and pressure from national neo-Islamic movements. In Tunisia the emancipation of women has come the furthest, but the human rights situation in general is not very good. Many discriminatory customs such as female genital mutilation and child marriage are being promoted as part of Islam when in reality these traditions have other origin. It is my opinion that this fact, if supported by governments and preferably also by laws, could constitute the incitement to abandon these customs. As usual, although it cannot be said too often, it is all a matter of interpretation, and as women are starting to question the grounds for these interpretations, and also contribute with newer ones, there is hope for change.},
  author       = {Ljung, Christina},
  keyword      = {Folkrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Women's Rights and Shari'a - A comparative study of marriage and family relations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in the cases of Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen},
  year         = {2003},
}