Three restrictions on women's rights in the Middle East you've probably never heard about

Published May 25th, 2015 - 12:36 GMT
Female activists are fighting to abolish some of these laws. (AFP/Filippo Monteforte)
Female activists are fighting to abolish some of these laws. (AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

We all know about the so-called "honor" killings that sentence women to death and the ban on female driving in Saudi Arabia.

Those restrictions are only the beginning. Unfortunately there are plenty of laws that perpetuate violence against women and affect their families by extension. Here are the ones you need to know about:

1. Women aren't allowed to admit their children to hospitals without consent from the father. Jordanian law requires a male guardian's approval for a child to be medically treated. Seven months ago a one-week-old baby died because the hospital wouldn't let the mother admit him, claiming the father needed to sign the necessary papers.

2. Women are only considered half a witness in Yemen. A woman's testimony isn't taken seriously unless it's backed by a male witness. Female witnesses aren't considered at all in cases of adultery, theft, sodomy or libel.

3. Rapists' crimes are excused if they marry their victims and stay with them for three years. Forms of this law can be seen in several countries, including Morocco where a few years ago, a judge forced a 16-year-old girl to marry her rapist. She committed suicide shortly afterward.


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