Rape law scrapping hailed
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