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Title: Without Reservation: Reforming Palestinian Family Laws in Light of CEDAW
Authors: Qafisheh, Mutaz
Keywords: Family Law, Sharea, Jurisprudence, Discretion, Reinterpretation of Islamic Law, Gender, Inheritance, Age of Marriage, Polygamy, Divorce
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany
Citation: Mutaz Qafisheh, ‘Without Reservation: Reforming Palestinian Family Laws in Light of CEDAW’, in Irene Schneider & Nijmi Edres, eds., Uses of the Past: Sharīʿa and Gender in Legal Theory and Practice in Palestine and Israel, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany, 2018, 29-45.
Abstract: After Palestine’s accession to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in April 2014, as the only Arab state that joined this treaty without reservation, what that implies? Is Palestine willing to apply CEDAW domestically and to ensure the equality between sexes? If so, can Palestine enforce this treaty taking into account centuries-long traditions that discriminate against women, notwithstanding the conservative nature of local communities and the rise of Islamist renaissance across the Middle East? This paper tries to answer these questions by addressing selected issues of family laws applying in Palestine in light of CEDAW: age of marriage, approval of guardian of female’s marriage, inter-religion marriages, polygamy, divorce, and inheritance. While the mere legislative enactment that adheres to the principle of equality is relatively an easy task given the political will to ensure gender equality, this paper claims that the way toward legislative reform in line with international standards relating to women rights would not be an easy journey due to social and religious attitudes embedded within the society. A comprehensive reform process on women rights requires socio-economic, educational, and cultural transformations.
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