Rojava will greet March 8th with Women’s Laws

By Rojava Report:

Rufind Xelef, president of the Cizîre Canton’s Women’s Legislative Committee

Rufind Xelef, president of the Cizîre Canton’s Women’s Legislative Committee

(ANF/NERGİS BOTAN – QAMİŞLO) Women have played a major role in every phase of the Rojava Revolution, and with the proclamation of autonomy women are receiving legal guarantees of their rights. Following the Cizîre Canton’s proclamation of autonomy last month, the Women’s Legislative Committee was formed in order to draw up laws with the goal of promoting gender equality. The committee, which is composed of 25 people from various women’s organizations, is set to present 39 amendments to the canton government upon their finalization.

A Legal Framework For Gains

The president of the committee, Rufind Xelef, has told ANF that the Rojava Revolution has been a women’s revolution and that at this stage in the revolution they have to reach a legal framework in which to codify their gains.

Applicable In The Entirety Of Rojava

Xelef told ANF that the legislative items had been prepared in common with women’s organizations in the Cizîre Canton and were put together taking the social structure of Rojava as its basic principle. She affirmed that, if they were accepted by Afrin and Kobanê cantons, they would be applicable in the entirety of Rojava.

Xelef spoke of the past in which the will of women was not taken into account and spoke of their work on the legal order that would replace sexist laws with democratic social and family structures and provide for equal rights among men and women. Xelef said, “according to Sharia law two female witnesses were equivalent to one man. At the same time while dividing inheritance two shares went to men for every one share that went to women. In this way it was an understanding that discounted the will of women. With the laws that we intend to prepare, we want to prevent these injustices.”

Forced Marriage And Bridal Dowries Will Be Forbidden

Child marriage, bridal dowries, and force marriage are among those items which Xelef pointed to, arguing that if bridal dowries were accepted and looked upon as normal it would among the greatest injustices to women.

Xelef went to explain how these laws were prepared over the course of the past year and involved research within the society, and that an outline of the proposals would be presented to the public in the coming days.

39 Items In the Draft

The draft proposal on which the committee is working is divided into two sections, “basic principles” and ‘general laws.” The first section on “basic principles” begins with the article reading “Within the framework of Democratic Autonomy there is a struggle for a gender emancipatory society. The law takes the equality of men and women in every sphere as a basic principle.”

Gender Equality In Every Sphere

Throughout the draft articles directed toward women’s representation and gender equality in the judiciary, government and workplace are eye-striking. A form of administration based on a co-presidency is envisaged within all organizations. Once more within the draft women are guaranteed a legal quota of 40% representation in the government and parliament.

The Prevention Of Violence Against Women

Articles dealing with the democratization of the family and the prevention of violence against women also make up a large section of the draft.

Polygamy, forced child marriages, and bride exchange will also be forbidden.

Violence against women is recognized as a crime in the draft, with an article reading that “The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is recognized.”

Another article reads “bridal dowries is based in an understanding which turns women into property. Bridal dowries will be put aside and in its place the foundational needs of life will be met in order to found a common life for both parties.” The right to reciprocal care and an understanding of equality are also mentioned.

Women Advisers In Court Are Essential

The division of property in the event of divorce as well as equality in the inheritance law are among the legislative articles.

It also requires that women be provided with a woman adviser from a women’s organization, regardless of whether she is the plaintiff or defendant.

Protection Of Children

With the draft bill there are also significant articles regarding the protection of children, and their psychological-mental and physical development.

In a draft which also lays out the responsibilities of the government, one article reads “The government of Democratic Autonomy is responsible to guarantee the rights of children by preventing all forms of abuse and violence against them by way of organizations”

“The government  of Democratic Autonomy is required to meet the foundational requirements of an honorable life for all person and families, and women and children in particular.”

Other articles also guarantee necessary care and job opportunities for the old and disabled.

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