Discrimination in law

Egypt: Postpone the 15 December referendum on the draft Constitution

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Dec 11
Update Date: 
2012 Dec 17
Update: 

President Morsi ordered the referendum to go ahead despite serious concerns raised nationally and internationally about the process for, and content of, the new draft Constitution. A first round of voting took place on Saturday, 15 December and a second follows on 22 December. We will continue to strategize with our partners regarding how to ensure women's rights are properly protected.


 

 

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Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to sign the petition!

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, Alliance for Arab Women and CEWLA, and call on President Morsi to postpone the referendum on the Constitution set for 15 December. Urge him to employ an inclusive and transparent process of review and development of the Constitution, and to ensure that all provisions clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians, in both the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations.

Letters should go to:

President Morsi
El Etahadiya Presidential Palace
Merghiny St.
Heliopolis, Cairo
EGYPT
Fax & Tel: +202 239 019 980
 

Letters: 

Dear Mr. President,

I am deeply concerned about the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution which could restrict and severely undermine women’s and girls’ rights if approved by popular referendum on 15 December 2012. I therefore join Egyptian women and men in urging you to postpone the upcoming referendum on the Constitution. 

I am particularly concerned, as are women and human rights organizations in Egypt, about ambiguities in the text and the lack of guarantees of equality of women with men. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also voiced her concerns about both the process of developing a new constitution and its current content.
 
In support of those in Egypt who are campaigning to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted under the new Constitution, I urge you to ensure an inclusive and transparent process of review and development of the Constitution, and that all its provisions clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians, both to reflect the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations. 

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Egypt: protect women’s full equality in the new Constitution

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Nov 15

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Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send the letter below online.

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, Alliance for Arab Women and CEWLA, by calling on the Egyptian Constitutional Committee to ensure that all provisions of the Constitution clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians both to reflect the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations. Letters should go to:

Mr. Husam Giranni
Chair of the Constitutional Committee
Qasr al-Aini Street
PO Box Shura Council – Constituent Assembly
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel / Fax + 202 227 942 733
E-mail: sharek@dostour.eg

Letters: 

Dear Mr. Giranni,

I am deeply concerned about the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution, which could severely restrict and undermine women’s and girl’s rights if adopted as proposed by your Committee. The inclusion of articles stipulating that equality of women with men, in all spheres of life, civil, political, cultural, economic and social, cannot violate Islamic law is particularly concerning because of varying interpretations of Sharia or Islamic law. I support women and human rights organizations in Egypt who are calling for the amendment or removal of all sex discriminatory articles.

I understand that the current draft of the suggested Constitution is incompatible with the aspirations of the January 2011 revolution and Egypt’s international obligations and commitments and urge you to do all what you can as the Chair of the Constitutional Committee to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted under the new Constitution. Please ensure that the draft Constitution guarantees sex equality as set forth in Egypt’s previous Constitution and in the human rights instruments it has ratified, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,
 

Jordan: Give women equal citizenship rights to men

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Nov 5
Update: 

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

UPDATE 12 NOVEMBER 2014: Progress! Equality Now and our partners, the Arab Women Organization and the “My mother is Jordanian and her nationality is a right for me” campaign, welcome the Jordanian government’s 9 November announcement granting certain rights to children of Jordanian women married to non-nationals. Endorsed by the Prime Minister, these children will now be granted special identity cards, free access to public schools and health care, access to jobs, residence permits, driver’s licenses and permission to own property and invest in business, among other rights. Such access would considerably improve the lives of the affected children. We urge the government to implement these changes as soon as possible within the announced six month time period.

While applauding this step, Equality Now and our partners continue to call on  the government to remove the discrimination from the nationality law itself so that women will have the same nationality rights as men. This will ensure that they and their families can enjoy the same access and benefits and have the ability to contribute as full members of society.


UPDATE 27 JANUARY 2014: On 12 January 2014, the Government of Jordan gave approval to grant the foreign spouses of Jordanian women and their children certain civil rights, including residence permits and improved access to state medical care facilities, education and work in the private sector. These rights will considerably alleviate the hardships of the affected families, and we urge the government to implement them without delay.

However, as sex discrimination still remains in the Jordanian nationality law, including not giving women the right to pass on their citizenship to their children and foreign spouses, Equality Now continues to call on the government to amend its nationality law to remove such discrimination.

Thank you for your support, and please continue to watch this space for further updates and calls for action.

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What You Can Do: 

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

Call on Jordanian government officials to amend the Nationality Law to give Jordanian women the equal right to pass their nationality on to their children and spouses without delay.

King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein
King’s Office
11100 Amman, JORDAN
Tel: +9626 4637341
Fax: +9626 4627421/2

Prime Minister Abdallah El Nsour

11180 Amman, JORDAN

Tel: +9626 4641211

Fax: +9626 4642520

Email: info@pm.gov.jo

Call on the Minister of the Interior to accelerate governmental efforts to facilitate provision of residence permits to foreign spouses of Jordanian women until the Nationality Law is amended.

Mr. Hussein Al-Majali
Minister of the Interior
P.O. Box 100, 11181 Amman
Ibin Zawdun St., Building #9, JORDAN
Tel.: +9626 5691141/Fax: +9626 5691141
Email: info@moi.gov.jo

Letters: 

TO THE KING & PRIME MINISTER:

Dear King, Prime Minister:

I support the men and women in Jordan advocating for women to be given equal citizenship rights with men, in particular the “My mother is Jordanian, and her nationality is a right for me” campaign organized by Nima Habashna and the Arab Women Organization. Therefore I welcome the Jordanian government’s 9 November announcement granting certain rights to children of Jordanian women married to non-nationals. This move will considerably improve the lives of these children and I ask the government to implement them as soon as possible within the announced six months period.

Under Jordanian Law No.6 of 1954 on Nationality, with few exceptions, women cannot transmit their nationality to their non-Jordanian husbands or to the children they have together, which is negatively impacting their lives. Several United Nations committees have urged your government to amend its nationality law to remove the sex discrimination in it. Though Jordanian law allows for the possibility of naturalization of a non-national husband and their children, it is at the discretion of the Council of Ministers and applications must be obtained and filed in person with the Ministry of the Interior in Amman. Not one woman in the campaign has even managed to have her petition considered and sometimes women are unable even to obtain an application.

Building on the progress towards easing hardships for children of affected families, I urge you to amend the Nationality Law and to facilitate residence permits for foreign spouses of Jordanian women without delay, so that women and their families can enjoy equal access and benefits and have the ability to contribute as full members in society.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,


TO THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR:

Dear Minister,

I support the men and women in Jordan who are advocating for the amendment of Jordanian Law No. 6 of 1954 to give Jordanian women married to non-nationals the equal right with Jordanian men to pass their citizenship on to their spouses and children – in particular the “My mother is Jordanian, and her nationality is a right for me” campaign organized by Nima Habashna and the Arab Women Organization. Therefore, I welcome the Jordanian government’s 9 November announcement granting certain rights to children from these families which will considerably improve their lives. I urge the government to implement them as soon as possible within the announced six months period. Until the Nationality Law is amended, please also accelerate governmental efforts to provide residence permits to foreign spouses of Jordanian women to ease the stress and difficulties caused by an insecure status.

Some of the hardships caused by the inability of Jordanian women to pass on their nationality include the fear that their children will be taken from the country by the non-Jordanian husband, presenting huge legal difficulties for their mothers to bring them back or even have access to them, and the exploitation by employers of foreign-born husbands. Though Jordanian law allows for the possibility of naturalization of a non-national husband and their children, this is only at the discretion of the Council of Ministers and applications must be obtained and filed in person with your Ministry in Amman. No woman in the “My mother is Jordanian, and her nationality is a right for me” campaign has yet managed to have her petition considered. Other women in the campaign have also tried to have their children and spouses naturalized but are unable to even obtain an application from your Ministry.

Building on the progress towards easing hardships for children of affected families, I urge you to please support the comprehensive amendment of the Nationality Law as soon as possible.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Soheila Vahdati Bana

Elevating the issues of Iran’s women to the world’s stage
Sohelia Vahdati Bana

1. What is the current status of women’s rights in Iran?

Words and Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing +15 Review Process

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2012 Jul 10
Update: 

>> TAKE ACTION! Sign our petition calling for the repeal of discriminatory laws

24 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: Equality Now will be issuing a Beijing + 20 report for the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 2015. Please check back early next year for the new edition.


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What You Can Do: 

>> TAKE ACTION! Sign our petition calling for the repeal of discriminatory laws

  • Ask your government and others to amend/repeal all sex discriminatory laws as a matter of urgency. 
  • Share this update and your concerns with the media and the general public to enlist their support in the campaign to hold governments accountable to the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Please also sign our petition.

Following advocacy by Equality Now and many civil society groups from around the world, at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s session in September-October 2010 the Human Rights Council established a five member Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice. Equality Now will continue to send information to the Working Group on these and similar issues, and encourages other organizations to do so: wgdiscriminationwomen@ohchr.org.

Equality Now discusses women's rights in Saudi Arabia (Trust Law)

6/13/2012 -- TrustLaw -- "Saudi Arabia takes tiny steps on women’s rights" Equality Now discusses women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

"Women and girls in Saudi Arabia are treated as perpetual minors living under male guardianship all their lives – with restrictions on employment, political participation, travel, education and healthcare." --Yasmeen Hassan, Global Director

Sudan: Stop the stoning of Intisar Sharif Abdalla

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Jun 6
Update Date: 
2012 Jul 3
Update: 

UPDATE 3 July 2012: On 22 June, an appellate court vacated Intisar Sharif Abdalla’s sentence and ordered a new trial based on defects in the original trial. On 3 July, the trial court found no evidence to proceed with the trial and dismissed the charges. Intisar has been freed from prison. Thank you for taking action.

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What You Can Do: 

Please write to Sudanese officials to call for:

  • the immediate and unconditional release of Intisar Sharif Abdalla;
  • the establishment of a moratorium on death by stoning;
  • the commutation of all sentences of death by stoning;
  • the prohibition by law of all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, such as torture, flogging and stoning in accordance with Sudan’s obligations under the African Charter and the ICCPR;
  • a comprehensive review of the provisions of the Criminal Act of Sudan, 1991, in particular Article 146, and the removal of all provisions that discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women, including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Sudan’s own constitutional provision on the right to equality and non-discrimination based on sex. 

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Please send your letters to:

President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President
People’s Palace
PO Box 281
Khartoum, Sudan
Email: info@sudan.gov.sd

Mohammed Bushara Dousa
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan

Dr. Moaz Tango
Advisory Committee on Human Rights
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan

Jalal al-Din Mohammed Osman
Chief Justice
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
P.O Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan

Letters: 

Dear ______:

I write to you with grave concern over the 13 May 2012 sentencing of Intisar Sharif Abdalla, a mother of three, to death by stoning for adultery under Article 146 of the Sudanese Penal Code.

The prescribed punishment of death by stoning violates Sudan’s International legal obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that clearly prohibit all forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and treatment. In addition, the death penalty for the crime of adultery does not fall within internationally accepted concept of ‘most serious offences’ warranting a death penalty as reiterated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (currently the Human Rights Council) and Human Rights Committee.

Moreover, it appears that Intisar’s trial did not meet the standards of fair trial under Sudanese or international law. It is particularly concerning that her sentence was imposed based on a coerced admission after she was tortured by her brother. Confessions extracted under torture and duress should not be admissible in Court and cannot form the basis of a death sentence. Moreover, I believe that Intisar was denied the right to legal representation despite the guarantee under Article 34 (6) of the Interim National Constitution that “Any accused person has the right to defend himself/herself in person or through a lawyer of his/her own choice and to have legal aid assigned to him/her by the State where he/she is unable to defend himself/herself in serious offences.” In addition, Intisar was apparently not able to understand the proceedings against her that were conducted in Arabic, not her native language. The execution of persons after a trial that does not meet international fair trial standards amounts to a violation of the right to life.

I respectfully urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Intisar Sharif Abdalla, declare a moratorium on death by stoning, commute all sentences of death by stoning and prohibit all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, such as torture, flogging and stoning, in accordance with Sudan’s obligations under the African Charter and the ICCPR.

I further urge you to conduct a comprehensive review of the provisions of the Criminal Act of Sudan, 1991, and in particular Article 146 with a view to removing all provisions that discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Sudan’s Constitutional provisions on the right to equality and non-discrimination based on sex.

Respectfully yours,

Rwanda: Ensure Access to Safe Legal Abortions

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2012 May 30
Update Date: 
2012 Jul 11
Update: 

UPDATE 11 July 2012: Equality Now welcomes the new Rwandan Penal Code legalizing abortion under certain circumstances, mentioned below in our Urgent Alert, which was signed by the President and came into effect on 14 June 2012. Unfortunately, none of the pre-conditions to obtaining an abortion were removed. The Penal Code was also not amended to allow trained mid-level healthcare providers to conduct safe abortions, so denying women greater access to reproductive health and rights.

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What You Can Do: 

Call on President Kagame to uphold Rwanda’s international legal obligations by:

  • Removing the pre-conditions requiring women to obtain a court order and approval by two doctors in order to access a safe abortion.
  • Amending the bill to allow for trained mid-level health care providers to conduct abortions before the safe abortion bill is signed into law.
  • Ensuring women are able to access safe abortions.

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Letters should go to President Paul Kagame:

c/o Ines Mpambara
Director of Cabinet Office of the President
Email: inesmp@presidenccy.gov.rw

or via the contact form on the President's web page

Letters: 

Dear President Kagame,

I welcome the passage of legislation allowing a woman to obtain an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of incest, rape, forced marriage, or if the pregnancy threatens her health. I am writing to express my support for the men and women in Rwanda who are advocating for women to be able to access safe abortions.

However, burdensome pre-conditions – in particular requiring a woman to obtain a court order and approval by two doctors before she can procure an abortion and only allowing doctors to perform abortions – threaten to make safe abortions almost impossible for many women to access. I understand that most women do not have access to courts or doctors and consequently would not be able to benefit from this law. I therefore respectfully request that you do all you can to ensure the removal of these pre-conditions before signing the bill into law. In addition, please ensure that mid-level trained health care providers are allowed to perform safe abortions.

These changes would help women access safe abortions and so reduce the danger of maternity mortality and health complications. They would also be consistent with Rwanda’s obligations under the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as well other instruments. Please do all that you can to ensure that women are able to access safe abortions.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

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