Friday, May 2, 2008

Mali: New Family Law Faces Opposition -


A new household law codification waiting to be adopted by Parliament is facing resistance from some Muslim groupings who claim it travels against Islamic principles, particularly when it come ups to projected alterations to the country's matrimony laws.

The new codification takes to convey more than equality between work force and women in relation to matrimonial status, parental rights, ownership of land and inheritance, reward and pensions, employment laws and education.

"The codification is a important measure towards grammatical gender equality while reflecting the world of Malian civilization today," the curate of women, children and the family, Maiga Sina Damba told IRIN.

The current codification have seen small alteration since it was first passed in 1962, three old age after Republic Of Mali gained independence, and according to Oumor Cissé, communication theory advisor at the ministry for women, children and the family, it is heavily influenced by "outmoded" French laws, and a hard-and-fast reading of Koranic texts.


When the measure of exchange codification went out to civil society groupings for the up-to-the-minute unit of ammunition of audiences in early 2008, some Muslim groupings started candidacy difficult against the projected alterations to matrimony laws, heritage laws and place rights.

In early April the Muslim Redemption Association (AISLAM) called for the bill to be withdrawn from Parliament.

"All the proposals we made in the audience form of the new codification were rejected," said Mohamed Kimbiri, president of AISLAM.

The most controversial sticking points associate to displacements in matrimony laws. Today in Republic Of Mali traditional or 'religious marriages' as opposing to civil marriages, are legally accepted but the new codification will discontinue to legally recognise spiritual marriages.

"Despite much resistance to this change, legalising spiritual matrimonies have got been dropped from the measure altogether," Kimbiri complained to IRIN.

But Member Of Parliament Mountaga Tall elective in Segou a town North of Bamako, said spiritual or 'traditional' matrimonies deny some women their basic rights.

"Widows who have only had a traditional matrimony are legally excluded from any heritage rights and their children must travel through expensive, drawn-out and often demeaning processes to come into the basic household allowances owed to them."

In rebelliousness of the soon-to-be-adopted law, Islamic groupings are continuing to publish matrimony certificates.

"For the moment, the issue is unresolved. But if [these marriages] travel ahead it will be in misdemeanor of the law, and the matrimony certification will not be legal. No 1 can appropriate a powerfulness that is not legally bestowed," said Cissé.

Further controversy

In another vein, under the current law when two people get married if they perpetrate to monogamousness they must lodge to it in theory, but in world a hubby can re-marry without the consent of his wife.

"Men can besiege the law by making a new matrimony without any legal consequences," said Daouda Cissé, a legal advisor to the women's ministry.

The codification also gives more than heritage rights to illicit children, and enables them to take either their mother's or their father's name, but according to Kimbiri, "Islam can not accept that. [Illegtimate children] can only come into their mother's name, they make not have got a right to their father's."

And finally, some churchmen are concerned about alterations the new codification do to giving couples joint rights to set down and place - currently separate rights are maintained for property. But one Imam told IRIN, "under Islamic law partners must accept separation of ownership of possessions."

Compromise solution?

The codification have already faced many holds and some fearfulness it will stagnate altogether. Redrafting began in 1996 but it was slow to derive impulse in Parliament.

"Many Parliamentarians didn't desire to see change... or else they didn't trouble oneself to read the draft," Oumor Cissé told IRIN.

But in 2007 a grouping of women Parliamentarians - there are about a dozen, said Cissé - formed a grouping with lawyers and human rights militants to support the code's alterations and to force it through Parliament.

"If Republic Of Mali desires to be a fully-functioning democracy it is of import to go through this code," Omar Touri, caput of a women's rights network, Association of Women's NGOs (CAFO), told IRIN. "People have got got got to alteration their behavior and they have to accept change."

The codification conveys Republic Of Mali in line with a figure of international communications protocols it have signed up to, including the African Charter on Person and People's Rights, and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Given this, she said, "We have no pick but to go through it."

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But Abdoulaye Dembélé, deputy sheriff of the National Assembly, believes it much more than than likely that a via media trade will have got to be struck, ensuring yet more delays.

"In this ambiance of misunderstanding it is hard for deputy sheriffs to vote for this codification at the hazard of agitative a mass-uprising. We have got to take into business relationship the concerns and aspirations of all groupings before passing it through Parliament."

[ This study makes not necessarily reflect the positions of the United Nations ]

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