Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Turkey: Women's protection law watered down

From Jihad Watch:

Turkey: Women's protection law watered down
Concepts such as "equality of woman and man," "de facto equality," "gender equality in society," and "domestic violence" were removed from the draft law.

Funny how that keeps happening: resistance to reforms in favor of protection and expansion of women's rights in Islamic societies routinely invokes Islamic law and principles. The proverbial elephant in the room is the content of Qur'an 4:34:

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.
"Women's groups outraged by Cabinet's drastic changes to violence bill draft," from Today's Zaman (actually yesterday's Today's Zaman), March 1 (thanks to Twostellas):

Women's rights activists' excitement about a new draft law intended to address the issue of violence against women has died down as the Cabinet has eliminated important parts of the draft -- including its name -- which was prepared as a result of extraordinary efforts by activists and the related ministry. “This is scandalous and unheard of,” said women's rights activist and researcher Pınar İlkkaracan. “How can they make so many changes to a draft law prepared by the ministry as a result of months of work? Are they kidding all of us?”
She was referring to the “Draft law to protect women and individual family members from violence” on which women's right groups worked tirelessly with Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin, particularly since September last year.

Two hundred thirty-six women's groups from Şiddete Son Platformu -- the Platform to End Violence, in Turkey where almost every day five women are killed by men -- had prepared their own draft law at the beginning of the drafting process in 2011 and presented it to the ministry. In the meantime, the ministry prepared its own draft and said that they could work with women's right groups on the draft law prepared by the ministry.

Following various ups and downs in the process, they finally sat down together in Ankara in January to finish the job. Officials from the Women's Status General Directorate (KSGM) and other ministries were also involved in brainstorming sessions over days and weekends to address deficiencies in the draft law.

According to the women's groups, the ministry's latest draft had important deficiencies; however, Şahin and her team improved it “unbelievably” as a result of the hard work with activists, mainly from the platform. Finally, the draft law was presented at the end of January to the Council of Ministers, in line with procedures.

On the night of Feb. 24, the Council of Ministers sent the draft law to the parliamentary Commission for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men (KEFEK), also in line with the procedures, but unprecedented changes were made to it.

“This draft law is not the draft law that we agreed with the ministry on,” said Zelal Ayman, an activist from the Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) - New Ways based in İstanbul.

“We don’t accept it. We can’t take this responsibility. This is not the bill we supported,” she added.

The platform is critical of the draft law on many fronts. The first criticism is in regards to the name change made to the draft law by the Council of Ministers, which called the bill “Draft law to protect family and prevent violence against women.”

Activist and lawyer Hülya Gülbahar said that it is obvious that the draft law in its current form aims to protect the family not women.

“The underlying message is that families should be protected; if families are going to break up, eyes can be closed in regards to violence against women,” she said.

The platform pointed out that women’s rights groups have always said when a woman faces violence, she tries to get out of her family, and in that process, it is not possible to protect both the woman and the family. [...]
In May last year, Turkey became the first signatory of the treaty, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. It requires the signatories to criminalize the practices of forced marriage, female genital mutilation, forced abortion and sterilization, sexual harassment and stalking. It also stipulates that the parties to the convention should take the necessary legislative and other measures to combat honor killings, which usually refers to the killing of women by family members for “staining the family honor.”
According to a report by UN Women released in early July of last year, Turkey tops Europe and the US in the number of incidences of violence against women. Official statistics reveal that four out of 10 women in Turkey are beaten by their husbands. The platform highlights several points in regards to the required rearrangements:

Principal [sic] of equality: Concepts, such as, “equality of woman and man,” “de facto equality,” “gender equality in society” and “domestic violence,” which were removed from the draft law should be put back....
Posted by Marisol on March 2, 2012 11:55 AM

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