Sunday 21 October 2018
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2 months ago

Tunisia: Ennahda Rejects Inheritance Equality

Expand Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi, Islamist Ennahdha Party leader Rached Ghannouchi, and Ennahdha Party vice-president Abdelfattah Mourou wave to the crowd on May 20, 2016 at the opening of Ennahdha s three-day congress in Tunis.  © 2016 Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images (Tunis) - The official rejection on August 26, 2018 by Ennahda, one of Tunisia’s main political parties, of a presidential initiative to establish full equality between men and women in inheritance is a blow to women’s rights in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. President Beji Caid Essebsi pledged on August 13 to introduce a bill to ensure gender equality in inheritance. The proposal was to amend the Personal Status Code, which treats men and women unequally, inspired by Sharia rules. Under the current code, in some cases, a man receives double a woman’s share of an inheritance. “Ennahda’s announcement betrays Tunisia’s women and is a missed opportunity to reestablish itself as an Islamist party that respects women’s rights,” said Amna Guellali, Tunisia director at Human Rights Watch. “Ennahda’s refusal to abolish one of the country’s last vestiges of inequality stands in the way of Tunisia’s leadership in the Arab and Muslim world.” Ennahda, which identifies itself as “Muslim democratic,” has 68 members in the country’s 217-member legislative assembly, and is a member of the coalition government. It announced on August 26 that it would reject the presidential proposal, contending that it contradicts Islamic law. The president’s proposal seeks to ensure full legal equality between men and women in inheritance. Mindful of the controversial nature of this proposal, the president’s proposal allowed people to opt out of the equality rule by formally expressing such a wish in their will before a notary. The president’s initiative backs a similar proposal by the Commission on Individual Freedoms and Equalit

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