Law reform

On any given weekend, Israeli and Lebanese citizens can be found standing together in an orderly line before a Cypriot magistrate. They shuffle forward, couple by couple, in line to get married. The distance to Cyprus is roughly the same for an Israeli or a Lebanese couple, as is the reason why these couples choose to get married there. And no, it is not due to the beautiful weather, the beaches, or the nightlife in Cyprus, which most Israelis and Lebanese would insist to the reader, with a swish of nationalist bravado, are inferior. These are not marriages between Lebanese and Israelis. Rather, these couples leave their countries and travel by boat or by plane to a country that has what Israel and Lebanon both lack: a civil marriage law. To put it more simply, they do not have a marriage law that is adjudicated by secular, and not religious, authorities. Despite the fact that interfaith marriages cannot take place in either country, in Lebanon the lack of civil marriage is understood to index both the lack of secularism and liberalism and the primordial and patriarchal nature of the Lebanese state, while Israel continues to enjoy the ideological capital that its status as “the only [secular] democracy in the Middle East” ensures and unleashes.

25 Octobre 2011

WLUML s'inquiète du fait que le premier acte public du Comité national de transition de Libye a été de proclamer, le 23 octobre 2011, l'annulation d'un certain nombre de lois, pour les remplacer par 'la sharia'. Le Comité national de transition de Libye est un gouvernement intérimaire : ce dont il est chargé, et qui aurait dû être sa première action, c'est de mettre en place un mécanisme pour organiser l'élection d'un nouveau gouvernement, après la chute du régime de Kadhafi.

25 October 2011

WLUML is deeply concerned that the first public act of the Libya's National Transition Committee has been to proclaim on October 23rd, 2011, that a number of laws would be considered annulled and that 'sharia law' was to replace them. Libya’s National Transition Committee is an interim government – what it has responsibility for – and its first action should have been to put into place a mechanism for elections for the new government after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

RESISTENCIA, Argentina, Oct 13, 2011 (IPS) - Rural and indigenous women in northern Argentina, hit hard by the expanding agricultural frontier, deforestation and the spraying of toxic pesticides, spoke out about their problems and set forth proposals for discussion at the next global summit on climate change. They did so at the Women's Hearing on Gender and Climate Justice 2011-Argentina, held Tuesday Oct. 11 in Resistencia, the capital of Chaco province, 950 km north of Buenos Aires, attended by representatives of organisations from the northern 10 of the country's 23 provinces.

NEW DELHI: A Hindu woman or girl will have equal property rights along with other male relatives for any partition made in intestate succession after September 2005, the Indian Supreme Court has ruled, the Press Trust of India reported.

A bench of justices R M Lodhaand Jagdish Singh Khehar in a judgment said that under the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, the daughters are entitled to equal inheritance rights along with other male siblings, which was not available to them prior to the amendment.

The Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) Campaign welcomes long awaited and recent reforms announced by King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud, that promise to gives Saudi Arabian women the rights to vote and run for office in municipal council elections, and to become full voting members of the next Shura council. The promise to increase women’s participation in civic life is a tribute to women’s efforts on the ground who have been campaigning inside the country, despite strict and rigid opposition.

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.

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