Rape law scrap­ping hailed

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE -

BEIRUT: Jor­da­nian law­mak­ers have voted to abol­ish a law that lets rapists off the hook if they marry their vic­tims.

Right cam­paign­ers hailed the move yes­ter­day and see it as an im­por­tant step to­wards end­ing im­punity for sex­ual vi­o­lence.

This move comes a week after Tu­nisia scrapped a sim­i­lar law.

Cam­paign­ers have said such laws, which ex­ist in a num­ber of Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries, con­demn girls to a life­time of sex­ual vi­o­lence and do­mes­tic abuse at the hands of their rapist.

“It is a his­tor­i­cal achieve­ment in Jor­dan to­day,” said Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Mid­dle East con­sul­tant for Equal­ity Now, a global le­gal ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Coun­tries with sim­i­lar pro­vi­sions in­clude Le­banon, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and the Pales­tinian Ter­ri­to­ries, ac­cord­ing to Equal­ity Now.

“I think it is a re­ally pos­i­tive step forward to­wards end­ing im­punity for sex­ual as­sault and end­ing vi­o­lence against women, but also (for) im­prov­ing the rule of law,” Adam Coogle, Mid­dle East re­searcher at Hu­man Rights Watch in Jor­dan, said.

Jor­da­nian par­lia­men­tar­ian Wafa Bani Mustafa, who has cam­paigned to end the law, said last week that par­ents of­ten agreed to such mar­riages to min­imise “fam­ily shame”, but she said no girl should be “pre­sented as a gift” to her rapist.

“Hope­fully this will en­cour­age par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in Le­banon to re­voke it with­out any ex­cep­tions,” said Abu-Dayyeh. Such laws ex­ist in the Philip­pines and Ta­jik­istan, ac­cord­ing to Equal­ity Now. – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.