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India Criminalizes ‘Talaq’ Divorces
Last week, India passed an executive order criminalizing the practice of ‘triple talaq,’ which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives instantly by saying the word ‘talaq’ three times in person, by text, or over the phone. In contrast, Muslim women can divorce only after obtaining permission from their husbands, a cleric, or a religious authority. Muslim women’s groups in India campaigned against talaq for years, achieving a victory last year in the Indian Supreme Court, which struck down the practice as unconstitutional. The executive order goes a step further, making it a criminal offense that carries a fine and a prison sentence of up to three years.
Morocco Enacts Violence Against Women Law
A new law on violence against women took effect in Morocco last week. The provision criminalizes “aggression, sexual exploitation or ill treatment of women," mandates fines for sexual harassment, and imposes tougher penalties on perpetrators of violence in the public and private sphere. Despite the law’s wide purview, critics say more change is needed, noting that the law neither addresses marital rape nor provides a precise definition of forced marriage or domestic violence, rending prosecution difficult. Morocco’s new law goes into effect amidst a growing conversation about sexual harassment and assault in the region; last year, Tunisia also passed a comprehensive law on violence against women.
Female Foreign Ministers Summit in Montreal
The Canadian government and the European Union co-hosted the first-ever meeting of female foreign ministers this weekend. Top female diplomats representing seventeen countries gathered to discuss topics ranging from democracy to conflict prevention and “highlight the importance and the role and the rights of women and girls in the world,” according to Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. There are currently thirty women serving as ministers for foreign affairs globally, including Mali’s new Foreign Minister, 35-year-old Kamissa Camara, named earlier this month. At the summit, Freeland also announced the creation of a new Canadian ambassadorship for women, peace and security.