The four-member Geneva-based group urged member states to repeal laws criminalising adultery which have resulted in punishments ranging from the imposition of fines to flogging, hanging and death by stoning.
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“The issue here is not of criminalisation of adultery per se but the use of so-called Sharia laws on fornication and adultery to oppress and intimidate women and to uphold patriarchal and misogynistic social systems,” said Hassan.
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In a statement released here, the group of experts warned that maintaining adultery as a criminal offence – even when it applies to both women and men – means in practice that women mainly will continue to face extreme vulnerabilities, and violation of their human rights to dignity, privacy and equality, given continuing discrimination and inequalities faced by women.
The experts point out that in accordance with some traditions, customs and different legal systems, adultery may constitute a civil offence with legal consequences in divorce cases, in respect of the custody of children or the denial of alimony, amongst others. However, it should not be a criminal offence and must not be punishable by fine, imprisonment, flogging, or death by stoning or hanging, such as in the many countries where adultery continues to carry severe penalties.
The experts also said that provisions in penal codes often do not treat women and men equally and establish harsher sanctions for women, and in some [Islamic]countries, rules of evidence value a woman’s testimony as half that of a man’s.
Hassan told IPS the way these laws have been applied by all Islamic countries that have them on the books (and not all do) is to punish and terrorise women who are suspected of transgressing social mores.
Read the rest: UN Takes Action on Sharia Adultery Laws
The UN is having a moment of great hubris here, thinking that its power is such that Islam would yield its laws from Allah to the laws of puny men.