Tunisian women march for same inheritance rights as men

Protesters shout slogans during a march, demanding equal inheritance rights for women, in Tunis, Tunisia Mar. 10, 2018. The placard (L) reads “The Constitution is equal for all citizens.” (Reuters)
Updated 10 March 2018
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Tunisian women march for same inheritance rights as men

TUNIS: Tunisian women led a march by more than 1,000 demonstrators Saturday, including men, to demand equal inheritance rights for both sexes in the North African country.
Tunisia's inheritance law is based on Islamic jurisprudence stipulating that men inherit double the amount received by women.
The demonstrators marched to the seat of parliament in the Tunisian capital chanting equal inheritance rights "are a right, not a favour".
Last year, President Beji Caid Essebsi announced plans to set up a commission to examine "individual liberties" and "equality in all domains", including inheritance.
His announcement sparked opposition from Muslim clerics who issued a statement saying the proposals amounted to "a flagrant violation" of Islamic precepts.
Tunisia, which adopted a 1956 Personal Status Code extending several rights to women and abolishing polygamy, is seen as a pioneer on women's emancipation in the Arab world, although tensions often surface between conservatives and reformists.
The 2011 revolution in Tunisia toppled the regime of autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked uprisings across the Arab world, where changes to inheritance rights are considered a taboo.
But activists on Saturday stressed the demand for equality among the sexes in Tunisia.
"There must be equality, it is in the constitution," adopted after the 2011 uprising, said Sana Ben Achour, president of the Beity association which supports women.


Lebanon to review move to let Iranians in without passport stamps: Source

Updated 9 min 35 sec ago
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Lebanon to review move to let Iranians in without passport stamps: Source

BEIRUT: Lebanese ministers will review a security agency’s decision to allow Iranians to enter at the airport without having their passports stamped, an interior ministry source said on Tuesday.
The move by the General Security agency has sparked an outcry from some politicians who fear it reflects the deepening influence of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, which emerged from a recent parliamentary vote with more sway.
The staunchly anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Forces, a Christian party, described the change as an attempt to help Iran send more forces to Syria through Beirut or move money to Hezbollah despite US sanctions.
The agency, which oversees airport security, has defended its decision and said entry cards will be stamped instead.
Iran’s state news agency IRNA, reporting on the new measure this week, said some Iranians who had traveled to Lebanon had faced difficulty obtaining European visas.
The United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist group and has tightened sanctions against those accused of doing business with it. The European Union classifies Hezbollah’s military wing as terrorist. Tehran and Shiite Hezbollah provide critical support to the Syrian army in the seven-year conflict next door.
Caretaker Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk, returning from a trip abroad, will meet Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and other officials on Wednesday to discuss the passport move and determine whether or not to nullify it, the source told Reuters.
Machnouk retweeted an article on Monday in local daily Al-Nahar that cited ministry sources as saying he would challenge the measure.
Major General Abbas Ibrahim, who heads General Security, defended the step as a normal procedure.
“Unfortunately, some in Lebanon have a wide imagination,” he said in remarks to local daily Al-Joumhouria.
A database automatically registers all Iranian arrivals and departures, said Ibrahim, a Shiite official who has coordinated with Hezbollah and its political ally the Amal party.
He added that many European and Gulf countries refrained from stamping passports and that introducing new technology at Beirut airport would eventually eliminate the need for stamps.
A lawmaker with the Lebanese Forces, which nearly doubled its seats in parliament in the election, said he believed the interior ministry would cancel the new measure.
“This does not need discussion,” Wehbe Katicha told Reuters. “A director general made an administrative decision, when it should be a political one. It’s a mistake.”