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Gender Discrimination for Religious Reasons in Islamic Countries and International Human Rights Treaties

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Maryam Mosavi

Gender equality rights are fundamental human rights that are recognized in international human rights treaties, which bind states to eliminate gender discrimination formally and in practice. Islam is recognized as the official religion in the constitutional law of Islamic countries; religious scholars have the competence to interpret Islamic law, resulting in creating a series of unequal rights for women based on Islamic law, which often continues in legal structures. Nevertheless, a majority of Islamic countries have ratified the international human rights treaties but have put reservations in place based on Sharia concerning articles on gender equality rights. Therefore, this dissertation addressed that the degree to which international law has accepted gender discrimination for religious reasons.
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Final Remarks

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The emphasis on gender discrimination in general and in specialized international human rights treaties demonstrates that “gender- sensitivity” is an essential issue in the view of international law. International covenants (UDHR, ICCPR, and ICESCR) provide a general approach to ‘substantive gender equality rights’ to enjoy their treaty provisions. CEDAW goes further and addresses the details of equality rights by ‘eliminating any discrimination against women’. In general, these conventions design a framework for implementing gender equality rights and non-discrimination by imposing legal obligations on states parties; it must be guaranteed in their law (de jure) and state practice (de facto). Therefore, states parties have the primary responsibility to implement gender equality rights and non-discrimination.

Thus, a state’s jurisdiction plays an essential role in promoting or hindering the principle of gender equality rights and non-discrimination, and the degree to which a state’s jurisdiction of gender equality rights is compatible with international law. For instance, the Western construct engages more with an international standard of gender equality rights; hence, there are not serious inconsistencies in gender issues between Western countries and international law. Whereas, non-Western countries may be uncomfortable with this dynamic; that due to diversity in culture, religion, traditional, political, and socio-economic aspects. Moreover, if a state’s jurisdiction is not compatible with international standards in gender issues, it has to take a series of legislative and policy reforms. So, a state will be considered whether culture, religion, traditional, political, and socio-economic fields have the capacity to accept and comply with...

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