Tunisians demand change to Muslim marriage decree

(REUTERS)
Updated 28 March 2017
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Tunisians demand change to Muslim marriage decree

TUNIS: An alliance of Tunisian human rights groups on Monday called on authorities to scrap a 1973 decree that bans Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims.
The alliance of some 60 groups signed a statement calling for the decree to be revoked, saying it undermines “a fundamental human right: which is the right to choose a spouse.”
Sana Ben Achour, president of the Beity association, told a news conference “it is inadmissible today for a simple decree, which has almost no judicial value... to command the lives of thousands.”
The decree issued in 1973 by the justice ministry stipulates that a non-Muslim man who wishes to marry a Tunisia woman must convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.
Wahid Ferchichi, of the Adli association for the defense of individual liberties, said the decree violates Tunisia’s constitution which promotes equality between all citizens, regardless of gender.
The coalition said it would mount a campaign to mobilize public opinion and seek meetings with the ministers of justice, interior and the head of government, hoping the decree will be scrapped by November.
Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women’s rights.
The North African country and birthplace of Arab Spring protests that ousted several regional autocratic, adopted a new constitution in 2014 which guarantees equality between men and women.
Article 21 of the constitution states: “All citizens, male and female, have equal rights and duties, and are equal before the law without any discrimination.”
But discrimination against women in Tunisia remains rife, particularly in matters of inheritance and the country’s Code of Personal Status designates the man as the head of a family. 


Tripoli neighborhoods ‘turning into battlefields’: Red Cross

Updated 15 min 54 sec ago
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Tripoli neighborhoods ‘turning into battlefields’: Red Cross

  • Hospitals are struggling from chronic shortages of medical supplies
  • There have also been power outages and weakened water pumping stations

GENEVA/TRIPOLI: The humanitarian situation has greatly deteriorated around the Libyan capital Tripoli, where “densely populated residential areas are gradually turning into battlefields,” the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.
Hospitals are struggling with chronic shortages of medical supplies amid power outages and weakened water pumping stations, the aid agency said in a statement after three weeks of clashes.
“It is crucial that hospitals, medical facilities, health staff and vehicles transporting the wounded are allowed to carry out their activities safely,” it said.
The World Health Organization said on Twitter that 278 people have been killed in the last three weeks, while 1,332 others have been wounded.
The Libyan National Army, which is allied to a rival government in eastern Libya, has mounted an offensive on Tripoli but has so far failed to breach the city’s southern defenses.
Southern suburbs and nearby villages have been heavily fought over and shelled, with territory regularly changing hands.