Sexual violence

Yemen: End child marriages by enacting and enforcing a minimum age of marriage law

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Sep 19

UPDATE 27 FEBRUARY 2015: Encouraging news from Yemen in our global campaign to end child marriage – a minimum marriage age of 18 years was included in the January 2015 draft of the Constitution, representing a step forward for Yemen towards meeting its obligations under international law. This is due to the effort of many, including women at the grassroots level and former Yemeni Human Rights Minister, Ms. Hooria Mashhour before she left office.

What You Can Do: 
  • Contact the Yemeni President, Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House and ask them to:
  1. Ensure that the draft bill banning child marriage is passed by parliament as soon as possible.
  2. Ensure effective enforcement of this law once passed.
  3. Take measures to protect and promote the rights of girls who have ended or escaped child marriages, including by providing them with safe accommodation, education and counseling.
  • Help us spread the word about this campaign by sharing this Action with your friends.
Letters: 

Dear President/Prime Minister/Speaker of the House:

cc: Minister of Human Rights

I am deeply concerned about the prevalence of child marriage in Yemen. Reports from both Yemeni human rights groups and the press have highlighted a number of cases of young Yemeni girls who have undergone or been at risk of child marriage which has left them subject to many harmful and sometimes fatal, consequences. Yet, to date, the government has not passed a law setting a minimum age of marriage. While government officers have been intervening in individual cases of child marriage, their power to stop these marriages is severely limited without a law banning child marriages.

International organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNFPA have underscored the negative physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications of child marriage on girls, including septic abortion, still births, death due to early pregnancy, deprivation of education, few social connections, restricted mobility, limited control over resources, little or no power in their new households and increased risk of domestic violence.

I am aware that draft legislation fixing the minimum age of marriage for girls at age 17 with penalties and punishment for violators has been pending in parliament since 2009. Passing it without delay would be a first step to helping girls escape abuse and allowing them to fulfill their potential. Banning child marriage is an international obligation of the Yemeni government under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) both of which contain provisions against the practice. In 2012, the UN Human Rights Committee in its examination of Yemen’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) expressed its concern that “a minimum age for marriage has still not been set and encounters great resistance in the Parliament” and called on Yemen to “set a minimum age for marriage that complies with international standards.”

In a promising new development Yemeni Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashhour has requested the reintroduction of the 2009 parliamentary bill that would effectively ban child marriages in the country. I support the Minister in her efforts to ensure that the government of Yemen lives up to its obligations under international law by passing a law prohibiting child marriage so that girls are no longer forced to undergo the harmful physical and psychological effects of child marriage.

I urge you to ensure that the draft child marriage bill is passed by parliament as soon as possible. Once passed, please ensure the law’s effective enforcement and punishment for those in violation. In addition, take measures to protect and promote the rights of girls who have ended or escaped child marriages, including by providing access to security, education and counseling.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

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,

Egypt: Stop sexual violence against women demanding their rights

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Apr 11

view as pdf

What You Can Do: 

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

Remind the authorities of Egypt’s obligations under CEDAW, the ICCPR and the ICESCR to provide equality between men and women, including freedom from gender-based violence. Please write to the Egyptian authorities listed below and urge them to:

  • Stop the sexual violence and intimidation tactics being perpetrated against women advocating for their rights
  • Properly investigate and fully prosecute any sexual assault whether occurring in public or in private
  • Develop processes for the comprehensive inclusion of women’s voices in all governmental and administrative processes

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

Minister of Justice Mr. Nayer Adel-Monei Othman
Lazoghly Square, Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202 279 22263
Fax: +202 279 58103
Email: mjustice@moj.gov.eg

Letters: 

Dear President, Prime Minister, Minister:

I am writing to express my support of Egyptian women who continue to demand their full- integration in all post-revolution institutions and policy frameworks as laid out in the 2011 Egyptian Women’s Charter. Egyptian women deserve to be recognized as full and equal citizens and should not be subjected to sexual violence for demanding their rights.

The increase in seemingly organized incidents of sexual violence, perpetrated in and around Tahrir Square, is alarming. I urge you to stop the sexual violence and intimidation tactics being perpetrated against women advocating for their rights. Please act swiftly and decisively to prevent such violence against women; to hold the perpetrators of any violence to account in a timely fashion; and to ensure that everyone, including women, is entitled to participate freely without intimidation or harassment in peaceful debate or demonstration about the future of the country. I understand your government has launched an “Initiative to support the Rights and Freedoms of the Egyptian Women,” which I hope will take strong action on the fundamental issue of violence against women as well as other issues of discrimination against women. I also urge you to comprehensively include women in all governmental and administrative processes.

Egypt’s international obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, require full equality between men and women and the prohibition and prevention of gender-based violence.

Such steps will ensure that Egyptian women and men’s human rights are respected and will contribute to a more secure Egypt.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

London Office Director Jacqui Hunt on victim blaming and sexual assault (Independent)

12/28/2012 -- The Independent -- "2012: the year when it became okay to blame victims of sexual assault"; London Office Director Jacqui Hunt on victim blaming and sexual assault. 

Ending Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls: The Global Tipping Point (HuffPo UK)

1/9/2013 -- Huffington Post UK -- "Ending Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls: The Global Tipping Point"; London Office Director Jacqui Hunt discusses recent developments and ongoing efforts in the fight to address violence against women.

Equality Now Calls for Continued Action to End Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan (Safe World for Women)

12/22/2012 -- Safe World For Women -- "Equality Now Calls for Continued Action to End Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan"; On 13 December 2012, the Kyrgyz Parliament approved a bill aimed at strengthening legislation on bride kidnapping. Equality Now welcomes this development and urges President Almazbek Atambayev to sign the bill so that it can finally become law.

Morocco: Amend Penal Code to Protect Women Against Violence and Discrimination (HuffPo UK)

12/13/2012 -- Huffington Post UK -- "Morocco: Amend Penal Code to Protect Women Against Violence and Discrimination"; In solidarity with female victims of violence and discrimination, the "Spring of Dignity" coalition organised a human chain which started at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice in Rabat and ended at the seat of the House of Representatives. Several hundred people took part.

Kyrgyz Parliament Approves Bill To Strengthen Bride Kidnapping Legislation (HuffPo UK)

12/19/2012 -- Huffington Post UK -- "Kyrgyz Parliament Approves Bill To Strengthen Bride Kidnapping Legislation" Middle East/North African Consultant Suad Abu-Dayyeh on the recently passed bill in Kyrgyzstan and the continued need for action to end bride kidnapping.

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