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September 4, 2008

Iranian Women’s Rights Advocates Score Stunning Victory

Washington DC – After experiencing severe criticism and opposition from women’s rights advocates, the “Family Protection Bill” was sent indefinitely back to the Judiciary Commission of the Iranian Parliament. It looks as though in this battle, Iran’s women’s rights activists have been triumphant.

The bill was originally introduced in last August and was passed in July of this year before being sent back to the parliament for further reconsideration due to considerable protest from women’s rights activists.

In a shift from the polygamy laws of the past which allowed a man to have up to four wives as long as there was consent from the first wife, this new bill did away with that restriction. Article 22 provides for temporary marriages without registration, a move which would leave both women and the children who are products of these marriages bereft of both legal and financial protection under the law. According to experts, articles 23 and 24 are financially discriminatory in that they tax the dowry that a woman is paid upon marriage and they do not require a husband to have the financial resources necessary before taking another wife. Amid other stipulations, this bill would make it more difficult for women to secure a divorce and it would become criminal for a woman to marry a foreigner without the necessary approval.

In what has been described as a stunning victory for Iran’s women’s movement, the Majlis has agreed to consult with women’s rights activists before resubmitting the changed bill to parliament.

Iran, however, remains one of the few states that have not signed the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).. Iran stands out even when compared to its neighbors in that regard – countries such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Egypt are all signatories of CEDAW.

 

 

 

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