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Religious and Cultural Interpretations

Criminaliser la sexualité - Les lois relatives à la zina, une violence à l’égard des femmes dans les contextes musulmans

March, 2010
Ziba Mir Hosseini

La tradition juridique islamique traite tout rapport sexuel hors mariage comme un crime. La principale catégorie de crimes de ce type est la zina, qui s’entend de tout rapport sexuel illicite entre un homme et une femme. Á la fin du vingtième siècle, la résurgence de l’islam comme force politique et spirituelle a entraîné la réintroduction des lois relatives à la zina et la création de nouveaux délits qui criminalisent l’activité sexuelle consensuelle et autorisent la violence à l’égard des femmes. Des activistes militent contre ces nouvelles lois pour défendre les droits humains. Dans ce document de synthèse, je montre comment contester également les lois relatives à la zina et la criminalisation de l’activité sexuelle consensuelle, de l’intérieur de la tradition juridique islamique. Loin d’être mutuellement opposées, les approches du féminisme et des perspectives des droits humains qui découlent des études islamiques, peuvent se renforcer mutuellement, en particulier pour lancer une campagne effective contre la réintroduction des lois relatives à la zina. En explorant les intersections de la religion, de la culture et du droit qui légitiment la violence dans la réglementation de la sexualité, l’article vise à contribuer à l’élaboration d’une approche contextuelle et intégrée de l’abolition des lois relatives à la zina. J’espère, ce faisant, élargir le champ du débat sur les concepts et les stratégies de la campagne SKSW .

UN: Harmful Traditional Practices - statement by Rashida Manjoo, UNSRVAW

June 27, 2012

Throughout the world, there are practices that are violent towards women and girls and harmful to their well-being overall. Young girls are circumcised, bound by severe dress codes, denied property rights or killed for the sake of honour in the family. Although these and other practices constitute a form of violence, they have often avoided national and international scrutiny because they are seen as traditional practices that deserve tolerance and respect. This highlights how the universality of human rights is often denied when it comes to the rights of women and girls, and how cultural relativism can be wrongly used to allow for inhumane and discriminatory practices against women.

South Africa: Bride abductions 'a distortion' of South Africa's culture

July 12, 2012

When cows are traded for an unwilling bride, rural Zulu women lose their freedom, and more. Called thwala, the practice is often abused, activists say.

 NORTHWEST OF HOWICK, South Africa —

— She was named Democracy in Zulu, at a time when her country had none.

A few years later, the constitution born of the historic South African election that ended apartheid made Nonkululeko "free" and "equal." But the eight cows paid for her as a bride price mean that she is neither.

Morocco: Wearing the hijab may not be an ‘Islamic duty’ says university

June 30, 2012

Casablanca, MOROCCO: Last month at Al Azhar University, Sheikh Mustapha Mohamed Rashed defended a thesis that sparked a heated debate among religious scholars.The candidate concluded that Hijab, or the veil, is not an Islamic duty.

The claim is not the first of its kind, but the mere fact that it is adopted in Al Azhar University – the Sunni Islam’s foremost seat of learning –makes it controversial.

UN: Stop Stoning Globally - Statement by Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers

June 26, 2012

Remarks by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers – Gabriela Knaul -- at the June 26, 2012 panel "Stop Stoning Globally" at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

UN: Stop Stoning Globally - opening remarks by UNSRVAW Rashida Manjoo

May 26, 2012

At the outset, I would like to thank the Worldwide Organization for Women, Justice for Iran and the Women’s UN Report Network, for inviting me to address this panel on the stoning of women. This event is very timely as this year I devoted my annual thematic report to the issue of gender related killings of women, among which death by stoning is a severe and cruel manifestation.

Lebanon: Boys do cry

June 21, 2012

“Feeling stressed, agitated, over the edge?” These are the slogans you read on billboards across the country. These expressions aren’t new to Lebanon’s urban dictionary – however it may be the first time they are being used constructively. The banners depict men mostly from the working class in aggravating circumstances. One billboard shows a taxi driver, raising his arm in disdain at the traffic (or so it seems), the slogan heading the picture reads: “feeling like you’ve reached the end of your line? Don’t vent out your anger on others, or your family. Call us, we are ready to listen.”

Sierra Leone: Fighting for women’s right to land

June 22, 2012

FREETOWN - Shortly after her father died, Sia Bona’s husband’s family took over her father’s oil-palm plantation and rice paddies, and drove her and her mother from their home. “I came from riches, but now I am poor,” said the 45-year-old teacher from Koidu town in eastern Sierra Leone. 

Greece: Crisis hits women especially hard

June 15, 2012

Disproportionately affected by public sector cuts and expected to step into caring roles, women also face rising domestic violence.

NEPAL: The hidden costs of early marriage

June 18, 2012

KATHMANDU - Thousands of Nepali girls leave school every year to get married, missing out on their education, the government says. Parents are often unaware of the impact that trying to save the money spent on education can have on the future of their daughter. 

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