The Gender Beat: Hostile Neighbours, Indifferent Police in Kerala Rape-Murder; Women’s Commission to Study Triple Talaq

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality

Muslim women in India. Credit: Reuters/P.Rossignol.

Muslim women in India. Credit: Reuters/P.Rossignol.

Rape-murder in Kerala: hostile neighbours, indifferent police

The News Minute‘s report on the distraught mother of the Dalit law student who was raped, tortured and murdered in their home on April 28, reveals that the family was repeatedly harassed by neighbours, who broke their water pipes. Even though mother and daughter faced regular harassment, repeated complaints to the police yielded no action.

Even on the night of the fatal attack, neighbours did not come to the aid of the victim’s mother when she “desperately tried to open the door to her house,” says the report.

The report also says that the house itself has now become “a museum of sorts”. “The few police personnel posted outside do not prohibit anyone from entering it, prompting criticism that crucial evidence may have been lost,” it adds.

Delhi Commission for Women to take independent study on unilateral triple talaq

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) will study all the laws pertaining to unilateral triple talaq, marriage, divorce and polygamy in Islamic countries, and countries with a significant Muslim population, say reports. The commission will examine these laws in-depth in order to identify the best practices on the issue across the world before it makes its own recommendations.

The commission’s decision has been sparked by the fact that Shayara Bano, a 35-year-old woman who was given an instantaneous talaqnama by her husband, is challenging the practices of instant triple talaq, polygamy and halala at the Supreme Court of India, arguing that they violate Constitutional rights.

“Delhi Commission for Women is of the opinion that the issues raised in the Shayara Bano case are of pertinence to the lives of Muslim women in India. DCW would be exercising its mandate in this regard and giving recommendations on this important matter,” said DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal.

The Supreme Court had recently sought the Centre’s response to Bano’s plea.

Maliwal said that the commission would hold consultations with experts in Sharia and Islamic jurisprudence, as well as legal experts. It will also be holding a public consultation, and is seeking suggestions from people on the issue which can be sent to the commission’s official address or email to them at [email protected]

Saudi Arabia gives women the right to a copy of their marriage contract

Saudi Arabia’s social justice ministry has announced that will be giving women copies of their marriage contracts in order to safeguard their rights. According to the new regulations, clerics who register marriage contracts will have to give a copy to the bride, a facility that was previously only available to the groom.

The ministry said that it took the decision for women who are in disputes or court battles with their husbands.

Under Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of religious law, women need to get the permission of their male guardians in order to marry.

UNAIDS condemns violence against transpeople in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has condemned the murders and violations of human rights against transgender people reported in recent months by civil society and media in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The body urged governments in the region to investigate and punish those responsible for the killings of transpeople and reduce transpeople’s vulnerability to violence.

It also urged the governments to “promote a culture of human rights”, and expressed support for the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender People (REDLACTRANS) for its work for transgender persons’ rights in the region.

Transgender civil servants in Brazil can use chosen name

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who faces impeachment proceedings for her management of the federal budget and could be suspended from office soon, has signed a decree saying that transgender civil servants in the country will be able to use their chosen names while on the job. Transgender civil servants will also have the freedom to change their names on their work identification cards, according to Rogerio Sotilli, the human rights secretary.

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