Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

November-16-06

Pakistan's Lower House Amends Rape Laws Punitive to Victims

Pakistan's lower house of parliament approved changes to the country's punitive rape laws yesterday. Currently, rape in Pakistan is tried under Islamic law outlined in the Hudood Ordinances. A rape victim must produce four male witnesses to the crime, and if she is unable to prove her case, she is charged with adultery, which is punishable by death or flogging. The new legislation, called the Womenís Protection bill, would allow a judge to decide whether to try rape cases under the Hudood Ordinances or Pakistanís civil code, and it permits the use of forensic and circumstantial evidence in determining guilt, the New York Times reports. The amendments also outlaw sex with girls under 16 and reduce the sentence for consensual sex outside of marriage from death or flogging to five years in jail or a 10,000 rupees ($165) fine.

The changes must still be approved by the Senate, which is expected, and by President General Pervez Musharraf. In September, similar legislation was proposed, but never approved by the government. President Musharraf seems supportive of the legislation, saying, "I have taken a firm decision to change these unjust rape laws as it was necessary to amend them to protect women," according to AP. The new proposals, however, have created a large schism within the legislature. According to the New York Times, Islamic fundamentalists boycotted the vote, and some have threatened to resign from parliament if the bill takes effect.

Local and international activists have been calling for a reform of Pakistanís rape laws, especially after the 2002 gang-rape of Mukhtar Mai. A tribal council in a rural area of Pakistan ordered the gang rape of Mai after she approached the council in hopes of settling a dispute involving the kidnapping of her younger brother and his affair with a woman of a higher caste. Mai has become a womenís rights activist, posting a blog and establishing two schools, in addition to speaking out about her experiences in Pakistan.

Media Resources: New York Times 11/15/05; AP 11/16/06; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/4/05


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/1/2014 Constitutional Court Invalidates Uganda's Anti-Gay Law - Uganda's Constitutional Court today struck down - on procedural grounds - a package of anti-gay policies signed into law this February by President Yoweri Museveni, but left room for lawmakers to attempt to pass the law, or another version of it, again. Ten petitioners, including activists, academics, advocates, and MPs, challenged the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act in court, claiming that it was passed improperly and violated the constitutional rights of Ugandans to live free from discrimination and with privacy and dignity. . . .
 
8/1/2014 Congress Introduces Legislation to Protect Students from Sexual Assault - A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to address the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The Campus Accountability and Safety Act, cosponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Dean Heller (R-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), focuses on steps colleges can take to proactively protect students. . . .
 
8/1/2014 A Call for Action to Reduce Gun Deaths Among Victims of Domestic Violence - Over 250 people gathered inside the Dirksen Senate building on Wednesday to support legislation aimed at decreasing intimate partner homicide through gun violence. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) chaired the standing-room only Senate Judiciary Committee hearing - which required an overflow room - and was joined by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. . . .