african women Patrick Meinhardt/ZumaPress

妇女权利和习惯错误

西雅图——合法权利和切实享受合法权利之间的差距是世界多数地区妇女所面临的最大挑战。国家宪法越来越有可能保障男女平等,但许多人也承认以习俗、宗教或民族关系为基础的平行法律体系更具权威。不幸的是,世界许多地区的法律并没有跟上时代的变化。

幸运的是,国际人权机构正在关注上述差距。1999和2000年,两位少女时代结婚、二十多岁守寡、育有四名子女的年轻的坦桑尼亚裁缝按照民族惯例的继承法被剥夺了房屋继承权。上述惯例法规定男性亲属比女性家庭成员对死者财产享有更大的继承权,并且一般完全否认妻子并基本忽视女儿的继承权。在这两起坦桑尼亚案件中,当地法院均裁定妇女与丈夫的共同财产所有权应归小叔所有,其中也包括用她的劳动所得购买的财产。

年轻的守寡裁缝们带着孩子无家可归,但她们拒绝接受剥夺她们的财产。在坦桑尼亚妇女法律援助中心和我曾经管理的乔治敦大学国际妇女人权诊所协助下,她们挑战了坦桑尼亚高等法院做出的裁决。2006年,高等法院认定惯例继承法“在不止一个方面带有歧视性”,但却拒绝推翻它。法院将此比作“打开潘多拉的盒子,导致120个部落所有看似具有歧视性的惯例”都有可能面临法律的挑战。

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