Reinforcing Women’s Human rights through National Gender policy under Shariah, a project of the Center for the Rights of Women and Children (CERIWOC), Nigeria
Zamfara is the first State to implement full shariah Legal System in Nigeria, thereby occupying a strategically important position in the Political Systems of the predominantly Muslim North of Nigeria . Although Islam guarantees rights of women, in practice, women are deprived of their sexuality rights and in some cases subjected to unjust disadvantages in the name of ‘shariah’. It is believed that the confirmed prevalence of violations of women’s rights in the name of shariah in Zamfara Nigeria is a result of misperception of culture and religion, misinterpretation of religious facts and values, as well as weakness of the capacity of local women’s rights-based NGOs. CERIWOC identified the need for advocacy, mobilization for reinforcing women’s sexuality rights as well as capacity building of local comer’s rights and for building a core of women’s sexuality rights defenders in Zamfara, Nigeria. Hence this project.
Project: Reinforcing Women’s Human rights through National Gender policy under Shariah
The project was aimed at providing sexuality rights information to women living under Muslim Laws in Zamfara state who are exposed to sexuality rights violations and punishments such as stoning for alleged adultery, so that they will be enabled to challenge structures such as cultural and religious interpretations used to deny women especially women living under Muslim laws in Zamfara state their sexuality rights.
The project was started in year 2 but was suspended because of some administrative problems with the bank that prevented the bank from disbursing the allocated funds to CERIWOC. In year 3, with Baobab’s support and intervention, the original plan was adjusted and concluded.
The intervention focused on the need to interpret existing laws and policies as the bedrock for the demand of sexuality rights in the state. A simplified version of the National Gender Policy was produced and used to explain the different parts of the policy to the representatives of CERIWOC. The document in its simple form outlined the link between government commitments, paying particular attention to sexuality health and rights needs of women and girls. The document concluded with recommendations on how to challenge stereotypes and check abuses often arising from patriarchy, lack of political will, amongst others. The training also discussed how it can be applied as a tool for the defense of the rights of women and men as contained in consensus documents that Nigeria has signed to.