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Parallel Legal Systems

Ghana: Land Tenure System and Women's Rights

June 8, 2012

Land relations are critical for women's right in Ghana. This is because of the centrality of land as a resource for the livelihoods of the majority of our population, food, water, fuel and medical plants.

Those who control lands and its resources also gain social and political power and authority. As such, women's unequal land rights affect their access to other resources and their economic, social and political status in society.

Mali: Students flee Sharia in northern schools

May 22, 2012

BAMAKO - Strict Sharia, or Islamic religious laws, imposed by the Islamist rebels controlling vast swathes of northern Mali are driving thousands of students out of schools. Dress codes have been imposed, boys and girls are forced to learn separately, and subjects deemed to promote “infidelity” have been struck off the curriculum.

Outraged parents are transferring their children and some students are opting to miss examinations rather than learn under these conditions.

Indonesia: Tasikmalaya law to make Muslim women wear veils

June 4, 2012

Tasikmalaya, West Java, will soon require all Muslim women, residents and visitors alike, to wear veils to enforce its sharia ordinance.

“We are finalizing a city regulation so that [the 2009 Ordinance on Islamic-based Values of Community Life] can come into effect as soon as possible,” Tasikmalaya City Secretary Tio Indra Setiadi told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

“Hopefully, it will be finalized this month so it can be immediately promulgated.”

Cameroon: Matrilineal Custom Puts Widows in Limbo

June 8, 2012

DIKOME BALUE, Cameroon -- James Elangwe, 87, belongs to the Balues, the only clan in which inheritance passes through the female line.

But this doesn't mean that women inherit. Instead, it means that when a man dies, the first son of the man's sister inherits.

Elangwe says matrilineal inheritance puts women at a greater disadvantage than patrilineal inheritance because wealth leaves the immediate family.

United Kingdom: Pressures and Resistance to Polygamy

May 31, 2012

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family.

But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married.

Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy.

UK: Female British Muslims are finding their voice

April 28, 2012

Anyone who has worked in British Muslim communities will tell you the very notion of women's rights is still considered a taboo subject. Like many women who have spent years challenging gender-based discrimination, I know how much resistance there is to equality.

Afghanistan: "Baad" Abduction of Girls for Elders' Misdeeds

February 16, 2012

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.

It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.

Papua New Guinea: VAW, Sorcery-Related Killings, and Forced Evictions

May, 2011

This submission was prepared for the Universal Periodic Review of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in May 2011. In this, Amnesty International expresses concern at PNG’s poor reporting record under human rights treaties to which it is a party, the absence of a national human rights institution, widespread discrimination and violence against women, which prevail in a culture of silence and patriarchal attitudes, as well as forced evictions and the failure to curb unlawful sorcery-related killings.

Saudi Arabia: Reformist Cleric Named to Enforce Saudi Morals

January 14, 2012

RIYADH—Saudi Arabia's king replaced the hard-line chief of the country's morality police with a more liberal cleric who has encouraged greater women's rights, a change welcomed by activists as a sign that the monarchy would continue to pursue cautious social reforms in the face of political upheaval in the Middle East.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud on Friday appointed Sheik Abdulatif al-Sheikh to oversee the religious police, who roam the kingdom's shopping malls and streets enforcing a rigorous version of Islamic law among the 27 million residents of Saudi Arabia.

Violence Against Women in Lebanon: A Debate That’s Not Going Away

January 13, 2012

On the surface, it would seem that passing a law that criminalizes violence perpetrated against women by family members would be straightforward in a diverse, and seemingly progressive country such as Lebanon. But the country’s diversity is one of the main hindrances to bringing it in line with international norms regarding women’s rights.

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