CAIRO: Eleven rights organizations presented to the legislative committee of the People’s Assembly a report suggesting the modification of some articles of the personal law, including putting more restrictions on polygamy and cancelling the obedience law.
The report — which was co-authored by the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, the Association of Legal Aid for Women and the Egyptian Foundation for Family Development, among others — was also presented to the National Council for Women, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and the Ministry of Justice.
“The draft only concerns Muslims,” said Afaf Marey, head of programs at the Egyptian Organization for Civic Engagement Promotion, confirming that the organization is planning another draft for Christians.
“The draft includes an article restricting polygamy, where a specialized judge should approve the second marriage, after making sure that the husband is financially capable of spending on another family and getting the approval of the first wife,” she added.
Marey confirmed that the current law involves discrimination against women and human rights violations.
“The draft includes evidence of experiences of other Arab and Islamic countries,” said Marey.
“Tunisia completely banned polygamy, where Morocco required the approval of both a judge and the first wife.”
Marey stressed that the draft law does not conflict with Islamic sharia. “Polygamy was related to certain social conditions when Islam started to spread,” she said.
“The Quran also required complete fairness among wives,” she added.
The memo, titled “Law of an integral, more just family,” also called for laws that are more responsive to the real needs of Egyptian families, without being limited to the teachings of one school of jurisprudence.
The report, which was critical of the current personal status law, said that there is no legal definition of marriage. It claimed that the current law doesn’t directly address marriage contracts, the implications of unregistered marriages, or the legal relationship between engaged couples.
Among its many recommendations, the report also suggested adding an article to the current law that would allow women divorced without prior consultation to claim half of their husband’s wealth that was made during their marriage.