UAE makes important reforms in women’s rights reforms: Human Rights Watch

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Dubai - The report comes ahead of International Womens’ Day which is marked on March 8.

By Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sat 6 Mar 2021, 6:03 PM

The UAE has made important women’s rights reforms in recent years, such as passing new domestic violence protections, Human Right Watch said.

On February 26, 2021, Human Rights Watch submitted a report to the United Nations committee reviewing the UAE’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The committee has scheduled a session sometime during the first week in March to identify a list of issues and inquiries it will make to UAE authorities ahead of its review of the UAE’s record.

“The UAE’s recent women’s rights reforms are a step in the right direction,” said Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

She highlighted that there is a room to achieve more progress in this field.

The report comes ahead of International Womens’ Day which is marked on March 8.

The UAE has carried out some reforms, such as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in the country’s anti-discrimination law and revoking legal provisions that had obliged women to “obey” their husbands, explicitly affirmed a man’s legal right to discipline his wife and children, and punished consensual extramarital sex, World Human Rights said.

In 2019 and 2020, UAE authorities also introduced minor amendments to the personal status law.

In November 2020, the UAE also repealed an article in the penal code that allowed men to receive lighter sentences for killing a female relative if they found them in the act of extramarital sex. However, families of the murder victim can waive their right to see the person punished in return for compensation (blood money) or choose to freely pardon them.

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