Malians do a good line in combining fashion and public relations for the causes they care about. Fatoumata and Moussa didn’t just decide to get married under Mali’s new family code, they got married in it – literally. The bride, groom and wedding guests at the September ceremony in Bamako all wore colourful traditional Malian boubous and pagnes, printed in browns and greens with key words from the new Code about mutual love, support and fidelity: “affection mutuelle”, “soutien mutuel”, “fidélité mutuelle”, proclaimed the wedding dress.
The president of Mali has announced that he is not going to sign the country's new family law, instead returning it to parliament for review. Muslim groups have been protesting against the law, which gives greater rights to women, ever since parliament adopted it at the start of the month. President Amadou Toumani Toure said he was sending the law back for the sake of national unity. Muslim leaders have called the law the work of the devil and against Islam.
While rights groups are celebrating a newly-adopted family code in Mali that changes marriage laws and expands girls’ rights, Muslim leaders and youths have vowed, even threatening violence, to block the code from becoming law.
Le nouveau Code de la famille du Mali adopté le 4 août améliore le droit des femmes dans ce pays. Son application nécessite toutefois un engagement constant des autorités publiques, loin d’être acquis sur le long terme.
At least 300 women are victims of sexual violence every year in Bamako, according to local police records, but the actual figure is much higher said the president of the Bamako-based non-profit, Women in Law and Development in Africa.