22 Aug 2017 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights


India rules Islamic practice of instant divorce 'unconstitutional' in major victory for women's rights
By The Independent , 22 Aug 2017

India's Supreme Court has ruled a controversial Muslim divorce law is “unconstitutional”, a decision which could herald the end of a law Muslim women have long argued violates their right to equality. The law allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq” three times. Muslim women say they have been left destitute by husbands divorcing them through “triple talaq”, including by Skype and WhatsApp. Three of the five judges hearing a case questioning the legality of “triple talaq” ruled it as “unconstitutional”.

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Female genital mutilation is happening in Canada, study finds
By Metro News, 21 Aug 2017

 Women from a small sect of Ismaili Muslims called the Dawoodi Bohras have reported that female genital mutilation has been performed on them in Canada, a study given to the federal government reveals. The first research of its kind to probe the practice within this tightly knit South Asian community, the study found that 80 per cent of Bohra women surveyed have undergone FGM and two of the study’s 18 Canadian participants said it happened within Canada’s borders. In Canada, FGM was added to the Criminal Code under aggravated assault in 1997. The study does not provide additional information on the two cases it uncovered. Authored by Sahiyo, an organization of anti-FGM activists and members of the Dawoodi Bohra community, the study was completed in February. Preliminary results went to officials from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department in June 2016. The federal government says it is looking into the issue

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Chile court ruling ends abortion ban; new law allows in limited cases
By Reuters, 21 Aug 2017

 Chile was one of only a handful of countries worldwide where abortion was illegal without exception. The ban was put in place during the closing days of Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship, and Bachelet introduced a bill to loosen the prohibition soon after taking office for a second time in 2014. A Chilean court on Monday ruled that a law legalizing abortion in certain cases is constitutional, a win for President Michelle Bachelet's center-left coalition and for groups that have campaigned for years against the country's strict ban. With the decision by Chile's Constitutional Court, women in the South American nation will be allowed to seek an abortion when their life is in danger, when a fetus is unviable or when a pregnancy results from rape

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Lebanon Repeals Its Marry-Your-Rapist Law
By The New York Times, 16 Aug 2017

Lebanon on Wednesday repealed a law that allowed rapists to evade punishment by marrying their accusers, the latest in a string of countries in the region to reverse such provisions under pressure from Arab women’s groups. A handful of countries — including several in the Arab world as well as the Philippines, a majority Catholic country — have allowed men accused or convicted of rape to be exonerated if they marry their victims. Women’s groups have agitated for years for the laws to be repealed, saying they further victimize survivors. And one by one, the laws are falling. Women’s rights advocates say that the law’s repeal in a vote by Lebanon’s 128-member Parliament is only the beginning of changing attitudes in patriarchal societies, where a family’s honor is linked to a woman’s chastity.

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