Discrimination in law

Ending child marriage helps break cycle of violence and discrimination (Girls Not Brides)

2/18/2014 -- Girls Not Brides -- "Ending child marriage helps break cycle of violence and discrimination"

Liloe was 14 when she fled to the Tasaru Rescue Centre in Narok, Kenya to escape #FGM and early marriage. Staff from the centre, which is supported by Equality Now, with funds from Comic Relief, arranged a reconciliation with her family and her mother made a promise not to mutilate her or marry her off.

Saudi Arabia said to reassess ban on women drivers (Arabian Business)

11/29/2013 -- Arabian Business -- "Saudi Arabia said to reassess ban on women drivers" Equality Now's Suad Abu-Dayyeh:

"Under the Saudi Arabian male guardianship system, women are vulnerable to a wide range of discrimination in both private and public life and have limited decision-making authority and freedom of movement,” she said.

Egypt: Ensure Women’s Full Participation in the Constitutional Process and Promote their Rights

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Sep 18

7 FEBRUARY 2014 UPDATE: On 14 and 15 January 2014, Egyptians approved a new Constitution which contains provisions guaranteeing equality between men and women. Our partners in Egypt welcome the new Constitution, but are working to ensure these provisions are strongly implemented, particularly in the current climate where the justice system faces considerable challenges.


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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please call on Egyptian authorities to heed the voices of Egyptian women, in line with Egypt’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to ensure full equality between men and women. Urge them to:

  • change the composition of the 50-member constitutional committee so that women are better represented, with a minimum level of 35%, and ask them to employ a selection process that is representative, transparent and fair and reflects the rights of all of Egypt’s citizens.
  • form a women’s rights committee to assist the 50-member committee in incorporating women's rights in the Constitution. This committee should include the expertise of a wide-range of women, from feminist civil society and the women's movement, rather than just women representatives of political parties.

Letters should go to:

Interim President Adly Mansour
El Etahadiya Presidential Palace
Merghiny St., Heliopolis
Cairo, EGYPT
Fax & Tel.: +202 239 019 980
Twitter: @EgyPresidency

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb
Magless El Shaàb Street, Al Kasr El Einy
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202-2793-5000
Fax: +202-2795-8048
Email: pm@cabinet.gov.eg

With a copy to:

Amre Moussa, President of the Constitutional Committee
Email: amremoussa@gmail.com

Letters: 

Dear President, Prime Minister:

cc: President of the Constitutional Committee

I am concerned about the ongoing exclusion of women from the constitutional process. By announcing a 50-member constitutional review committee with only 10% of the places reserved for “women and youth,” your government has continued to ignore women’s demands and limited their full participation, especially as the small number of positions have been mainly filled by government representatives. Unless women and girls are treated as real partners in deciding the future of Egypt, they will suffer the immediate consequences, and in the long-term, Egyptian society will as well.

I also understand that there were no women at all, let alone experts in women’s rights, on the 10-member so-called expert committee that worked in secret to prepare recommendations on constitutional amendments for the 50-member constitutional committee. Drafts of the proposals leaked to the media are giving Egyptian women cause for alarm by apparently rolling back on achievements already made for women.

I therefore urge you to support the promotion and protection of women’s human rights by ensuring a broad base of participation from all sections of society in the 50-member constitutional committee. More specifically, please give due regard to women’s needs and aspirations by changing the composition of the constitutional committee to include expert women’s participation, including from civil society, at a minimum level of 35%. Please also form a women’s rights committee to assist the 50-member committee in incorporating women's rights in the Constitution. This committee should include the expertise of a wide-range of women, from feminist civil society and the women's movement, rather than just female representatives of political parties.

Also consider Egyptian women’s groups additional proposals to ensure a transparent, democratic and well-informed process, including: 

  • women’s participation of at least 35% at all levels of decision-making, including the executive, legislative and judicial authorities (which should be enshrined in the Constitution) and women’s representation in all offices and all specialties of the presidency.
  • compliance with, and guarantee that the Constitution respects, all international treaties that protect the rights of women and men.
  • preservation of the social and economic rights achieved by women in their previous struggles and a guarantee of their ability to attain them.
  • establishment of full citizenship rights and the rule of law that will lead to the revocation of all forms of discrimination based on sex, age, marital status, class, ideological affiliation, etc.

Undertaking these steps will help Egypt comply with its obligations under international law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely Yours,

Bahamas reviews nationality laws that discriminate against women (Thomson Reuters)

6/27/2013 -- Thomson Reuters -- "Bahamas reviews nationality laws that discriminate against women"; Flawed nationality laws are one of the biggest causes of statelessness and can create huge heartache for families. "You are really a non-person so it’s very, very difficult to live your life. You’re vulnerable all the time and you don’t see a future out of it.

Saudi women jailed for trying to help Canadian woman (Toronto Star)

6/18/2013 -- Toronto Star -- "Saudi women jailed for trying to help a Canadian"; Middle East/North Africa consultant Suad Abu-Dayyeh comments on the case of women’s rights activists Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni:

Saudi Arabia: Protect don’t prosecute women’s rights activists

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Jun 18
Update Date: 
2013 Jul 18
Update: 

6 NOVEMBER 2013 UPDATE: On 14 July 2013, Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni filed their appeal with the appeals court. If the appeals court upholds the District Court's decision then the activists will be imprisoned while they prepare their final appeal. The appeals court has still not issued an official decision and Wajeha is still being pressured by the government not to participate in human rights advocacy such as the right to drive campaign on 26 October. Please continue to call on the Saudi authorities listed below to overturn the activists' prison sentences and travel ban.


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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now in urgently calling for the overturning of the activists’ prison sentences and travel ban. Also, ask the Saudi authorities to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally expunge all charges against them;
  • Institute, in consultation with women’s rights defenders, concrete measures to protect women at risk of and subjected to domestic violence;
  • End the male guardianship system to remove discrimination against women and girls, including in their access to justice, safety, education and employment, and the ability to make their own life choices; and
  • Protect and promote the right of human rights defenders to peacefully advocate for human rights.

Letters should go to:

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-491-2726

H.E. Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul El Karim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-401-1741

Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abulaziz
Minister of Interior
Fax: +966-1-1442-0057

With a copy to: The Human Rights Commission, Fax: +966 1 461 2061, Email: info@hrc.gov.sa

 

Letters: 

Dear King Abdullah, Minister:

I am writing to you about the conviction on 15 June 2013 of two women’s rights activists, Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni, of the Islamic Sharia law offence of Takhbib, or incitement of a wife to defy the authority of her husband. They were charged after trying to give support to a woman and her children who were allegedly abused by the woman’s husband. While absolved of the charge of trying to help the woman and her children escape, they were nevertheless convicted of supporting a wife without her husband’s knowledge, thereby undermining the marriage. The District Court in Al-Khobar in Saudi Arabia sentenced them to 10 months in prison. In addition, the court banned them from leaving the country for two years following completion of their prison term.

The fact that the authorities have punished those seeking to protect human rights, but appear to have done nothing to investigate the violence allegedly perpetrated by the husband, is deeply disturbing and a breach of international law. It signifies that protecting his dominant and apparently violent position in the family is more important than ensuring his wife’s safety. I understand Saudi authorities have repeated in international meetings that the male guardianship system is not prescribed in law. However, this conviction seems to suggest otherwise.

I therefore urge you to immediately overturn the unwarranted sentences given to Wajeha Al-Hwaider and Fawzia Al-Qyouni by expunging all charges against them and removing the travel ban. I further encourage you to institute, in consultation with women’s rights defenders, concrete measures to protect women at risk of and subjected to domestic violence. Finally, please protect and promote the right of human rights defenders to peacefully advocate for human rights.

I respectfully call on you to put an end to the male guardianship system, which would remove discrimination against women and girls and allow them to fully realize their human rights. This would be in accordance with international standards, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women ratified by Saudi Arabia.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Cc: The Human Rights Commission email: info@hrc.gov.sa

Morocco: Enact legal reforms to strengthen punishments for sexual violence & prevent child marriage

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 May 29

28 JANUARY 2014 UPDATE:  Great news! Following nearly two years of sustained public pressure on the government on 22 January 2014 the Moroccan parliament amended Article 475 of the Penal Code - the law that was used to exempt rapists from punishment if they married their victim.

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please write to the Moroccan authorities below, congratulating them on the proposed changes, and urging them to comply with their international and national obligations to end discrimination against women, by:

  • Swiftly passing and implementing the proposed amendments
  • Conducting a comprehensive review of all of Morocco’s laws, in collaboration with civil society organizations, to remove sex-based discrimination and ensure protection from violence
  • Training all law enforcement officers, particularly judges, on the revised Penal Code and family law without delay.

Letters should go to:

Mr. Mustafa Ramid
Minister of Justice and Liberties
Fax: +212 5-37-26-31-03

Email: krtmed@gmail.com

Ms. Bassima Hakkaoui

Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development
Fax: +212 5-37-67-19-17

Email: a.elouadi@social.gov.ma

Mr. Karim Ghelleb

Speaker of the House of Representatives
Fax: +212 5-37-67-77-26

Email: kghelleb@parlement.ma; parlement@parlement.ma

Letters: 

Dear Minister/Speaker of the House,

I welcome Parliament’s vote on 22 January 2014 approving revisions to Article 475 to no longer exempt a “kidnapper” from punishment if his underage victim marries him. Thank you for taking this important step to protect women from violence and discrimination. I respectfully urge you to continue this good work and move to delete the family law provisions that permit a judge to authorize the marriage of girls under the age of 18, so that marriage is only entered into by adults who are able to give their full and free consent.

Legal reforms such as these might have protected 16-year-old Amina Filali, who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist, and 15-year-old Safae who was reported to have been pressured by a prosecutor and judge, in the name of preserving her “honor”, to drop the charges and marry her rapist. Safae twice attempted suicide as a result.

To comply with Morocco’s international and domestic legal obligations, and in support of Moroccan women’s organizations, I urge you to work for the swift passage and implementation of the proposed amendments to the family law. Please also support a comprehensive review of the Penal Code to remove all sex-based discrimination and ensure protection for women and girls from violence. I also urge you to ensure the immediate training of all law enforcement officers on the revised Penal Code and family law once enacted.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Saudi Arabia: End child marriages and male guardianship over women

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 May 16

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please write to the authorities below and urge them to provide safeguards to ensure that girls and women have a real choice in the timing of marriage and selection of a spouse by:

  • Adopting and implementing the proposed regulations to set a minimum age of marriage
  • Going a step further to meet the international recommended standard by raising the suggested minimum marriage age to 18 years old
  • Ending the male guardianship system to remove discrimination against women and girls, including in their access to education, employment, and justice and the ability to make their own life choices

Letters should go to:

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-491-2726

H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh
Speaker of the Shura Council
Tel: +966-1-482-1666
Fax: +966-1-481-6985
Email: webmaster@shura.gov.sa

H.E. Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul El Karim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-401-1741

With a copy to: The Human Rights Commission, Fax: +966 1 461 2061, Email: info@hrc.gov.sa

Letters: 

Dear King Abdullah, Speaker of the Shura Council/ Minister:

As there is currently no minimum age of marriage law in Saudi Arabia, I welcome the 8 April 2013 proposal by the Saudi Ministry of Justice to introduce new regulations regarding the marriage age of girls. I understand that the draft regulations set 16 as the minimum age of marriage and propose preconditions to any marriage of a girl under the age of 16, which begin to offer protection to girls who would otherwise be married off with no restriction. I welcome these steps, which also reflect closer compliance with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations, and urge you to support their adoption and implementation without delay.

I respectfully call on you to go a step further, however, in accordance with international standards (including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Saudi Arabia), by moving quickly to raise the minimum marriage age to 18 and by putting an end to the male guardianship system. Please also ensure there are appropriate safeguards to guarantee that a woman has a real choice in the timing of her marriage and the selection of her spouse. This will allow Saudi women and girls to enjoy their human rights and fulfill their aspirations.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Cc: The Human Rights Commission email:info@hrc.gov.sa

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