Last December, Tunisians rose up against their dictator, triggering a political earthquake that has sent shockwaves through most of the Middle East and north Africa. Now, Tunisia is leading the way once again – this time on the vexed issue of gender equality. It has become the first country in the region to withdraw all its specific reservations regarding CEDAW – the international convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

AL-KHOBAR — In view of the popular campaign for allowing women to drive in the Kingdom, the Shoura Council is thoroughly reconsidering the issue, said Dr. Misha’l Mamdooh Al-Ali, Chairman of the Council’s Human Rights Committee. Allowing women to drive does not conflict with Islamic law, he said, adding that the majority of people oppose women driving based on tradition and customs. “It has nothing to do with religion,” Al-Ali was quoted by Al-Hayat Arabic daily as saying.

Women in Saudi Arabia will be given the right to vote and to stand for election within four years, King Abdullah announced on Sunday, in a cultural shift that appears to mark a new era in the rigidly conservative Islamic kingdom.

The right to vote in council elections will not take effect until 2015, and women will still be banned from casting ballots in elections this Thursday.

However, the 87-year-old monarch has invited women to take part in the next shura council, a governing body that supervises legislation.

An appeals court in Iran has reduced the prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh's jail sentence to six years, her husband said.

The 45-year-old lawyer, who has represented several political activists and protesters arrested in recent years, has been kept in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since last September. In Evin, she is spending time with some of the prisoners she defended in court.

Fez, Morocco - The new reforms outlined in the June 2011 Moroccan constitution can be grouped in three major categories: separation of powers, independence of justice, and good governance. However there are other key reforms that have gotten less attention but will have a major impact on Moroccan society, including a recognition of Morocco’s multicultural roots, a greater recognition of gender equality and more freedom of speech.

Le 11 avril 2011, le gouvernement tunisien de transition a voté une loi révolutionnaire qui institue la parité totale et l’alternance obligatoire des candidats masculins et féminins sur toutes les listes lors de la prochaine élection de l’Assemblée constituante. L’AWID s’est entretenu avec Radhia Bel Haj Zekri, Présidente de l’AFTURD (Association des Femmes Tunisiennes pour la Recherche et le Développement) sur la signification de cette loi pour les femmes et leurs droits en Tunisie.

President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday signed an amendment to Palestinian law to end leniency for civilians found guilty of assault or murder "in defense of family honor." The move, welcomed by women's rights activists, came in the wake of the discovery of a Hebron woman drowned by her uncle because he disagreed with her choice of fiancee. 

The Personal Status and Family Code of Mali was adopted in 2009 by the National Assembly, but promulgation by the President of Mali has been delayed until now due to the mobilization of Muslim religious organizations opposed to it. AWID interviewed Djingarey Ibrahim Maiga, the President of Femmes et Droits Humains, and Yaba Tamboura, member of the Steering Committee of Collectif des Femmes du Mali (COFEM) on the status of the new Personal Status and Family Code of Mali (hereafter referred to as the Family Code).

Tunisia's ruling that men and women must feature in equal numbers as candidates in July polls is an Arab world first that builds on this year's revolt and allays fears of conservative influence, observers say. The decision by authorities preparing the July 24 constituent assembly poll after the uprising that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the north African nation's long-serving president, has been hailed as a regional breakthrough. The Tunisian revolution has sparked similar revolts in other Arab countries. "It is historic," said Sana Ben Assour, president of the

La haute commission chargée de préparer les élections du 24 juillet de l’assemblée constituante tunisienne a adopté lundi soir un décret qui prévoit un mode de scrutin à la proportionnelle et la parité-hommes/femmes, rapporte Trends top. L’élection prévoit le système des plus forts restes, qui favorise les petits partis. 

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