Do you object to equal share of inheritance in Tunisia?WHY?

        Yesterday, I posted an announcement on my facebook profile which claims that the transitional government lifts restrictions on women's rights treaty CEDAW .I added a comment on the post saying: “finally! still they should have a look into the article 16 of the UDHR to fully establish gender equality. Well, the announcement didn't surprise me as the reaction and comments of my friends did. Some commented by saying:"this is a good start" and "good news" while others have furiously attacked this, saying" No way!!” “nonsense” “astaghfar Allah” “is the UDHR above God’s will and the Quran?” “Shame on them! are we negotiating and changing our Shariaa!!”
... and we went through, unfortunately ,unfruitful discussion because those who object this step to equality stubbornly think the Quran was clear on matters of equality between men and women. Obviously, we all have to build a more comprehensive view of this issue by respecting sharia but protecting women's rights .

       CEDAW is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women , that Tunisia has signed  in 24 July 1980 and ratified in 20 Sep 1985 but with reservations to opt out of certain provisions. When ratifying the treaty, Tunisia has made a general declaration stating that :" The Tunisian Government declares that it shall not take any organizational or legislative decision in conformity with the requirements of this Convention where such a decision would conflict with the provisions of chapter I of the Tunisian Constitution". Chapter I establishes Islam as the state religion. So by removing the declaration, no state would use its own constitution as an excuse for not complying with international standards. Many of the reservations limited women’s equality within their families, and now their removal finally recognizes that women are equal partners in marriage and in making decisions about their children. These include passing on their nationality to their children, rights and responsibilities in marriage and divorce, matters relating to children and guardianship, personal rights for husbands and wives with regard to family name and occupation, and ownership of property.

     True, Tunisia's laws have provided women a measure of equality largely absent among its neighbours. We, as women, have one of the most progressive personal status codes in the region. In fact, polygamy is banned and Tunisian women have equal rights in marriage and divorce. In addition, the minimum age for marriage is 18 for both spouses and both must consent to the marriage. However, we still do not have a comprehensive law on family violence, though we have some very strong provisions in the penal code criminalizing domestic abuse and marital rape. Women and girls are still not entitled to an equal share of their fathers' and husbands' estates. Brothers get more of the share, and sometimes inheritance can be divided among other relatives, such as male cousins, leaving girls and women with a much smaller amount. According to article 58 of the personal status code , judges can grant custody to either the mother or the father based on the best interests of the child, but prohibits allowing a mother to have  her children live with her if she has remarried. No such restriction applies to fathers. Would you call that justice?  I can't but call these laws, discriminatory laws. I think the personal status code has settled discriminatory provisions more than guaranteeing equality for Tunisia’s women.I believe, it should always be a case by case study.The logic beyond giving women half of the man's share is the fact that men are supposed to carry on the financial burden in the family.However, are all men today taking the responsibility of their families needs? are all brothers taking care of their sisters?are all husbands meeting their duty of financial responsibility?

       I believe we should proclaim our(your) commitment to advance women’s rights. We should call for equality and ensuring basic rights and freedoms for all citizens without discrimination. We(you) should eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and try instead to protect their rights.


SeifAllah said…
I agree with ya little writer ;)keep rockin' !!
Rowan Emslie said…
Discovered you through DAWNS Digest - great stuff. I'd love to follow more updates - are you on Twitter?
Aya.Chebbi said…
Thank you for your concerns Rowan.
My Twitter:@aya_chebbi


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