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Tunisia women march for same inheritance rights as men

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Tunisian women led a march by more than 1 000 demonstrators on Saturday, including men, to demand equal inheritance rights for both sexes in the North African country.

Tunisia’s inheritance law is based on Islamic jurisprudence stipulating that men inherit double the amount received by women.

The demonstrators marched to the seat of parliament in the Tunisian capital chanting equal inheritance rights “are a right, not a favor”.

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Last year, President Beji Caid Essebsi announced plans to set up a commission to examine “individual liberties” and “equality in all domains”, including inheritance.

His announcement sparked opposition from Muslim clerics who issued a statement saying the proposals amounted to “a flagrant violation” of Islamic precepts.

Tunisia, which adopted a 1956 Personal Status Code extending several rights to women and abolishing polygamy, is seen as a pioneer on women’s emancipation in the Arab world, although tensions often surface between conservatives and reformists.

The 2011 revolution in Tunisia toppled the regime of autocratic president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and sparked uprisings across the Arab world, where changes to inheritance rights are considered a taboo.

But activists on Saturday stressed the demand for equality among the sexes in Tunisia.

“There must be equality, it is in the constitution,” adopted after the 2011 uprising, said Sana Ben Achour, president of the Beity association which supports women.

A constitution adopted in 2014 guarantees equality between men and women.

Article 21 of the constitution states: “All citizens, male and female, have equal rights and duties, and are equal before the law without any discrimination.”

Monia Ben Jemia, who heads the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, said she hoped the law will change by next year.

“The fact that we are talking about it now means that we have already won the battle,” she said.

Rahma Jawadi, who heads a rural women’s organisation in northwestern Tunisia, said any change in the law on inheritance would help empower women in her region.

“They could farm the land and have a revenue,” she said.

The commission examining individual liberties is expected to release its first report in June and would recommand a policy of step by step changes, one of its members said.

It could suggest families take it upon themselves to equally distribute the inheritance between sons and daughters, thus bypassing Islamic precepts.

 

 

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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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