The United Arab Emirates is canceling soft penalties for so-called “honor killings”. It is also changing inheritance laws for residents as part of a reform of personal and family laws in the Middle East trade hub.
The UAE federal government made the announcement on its official news agency WAM.
Human rights groups say thousands of women and girls are killed across the Middle East and South Asia. Not anyone else, but their family members angered at perceived damage to their “honor” kill them. This could include eloping, fraternizing with men, or any transgression of conservative values regarding women.
UAE cancels lenient penalties for ‘honor killings’
UAE has canceled legal clauses that allowed judges to issue merciful sentences in “honor crimes”. The Emirati government said courts will now treat those crimes as normal murder cases.
Residents of the Gulf Arab state will have the right to choose inheritance laws to be used in each case. Instead of the UAE legislation based on sharia (Islamic religious law).
In the UAE and other Gulf Arab countries, sharia-inspired law governs inheritance and divorce settlements. Although expatriates comprise the majority of the population, including in Dubai emirate, the country’s financial and commercial center.
Under sharia, women’s inheritance share is generally half that of men. They could be excluded from inheriting land and property based on discriminatory cultural practices.
UAE said the legal reforms were part of efforts to improve legislation, the investment climate in the country as well as to incorporate “tolerance principles”.
UAE would also de-criminalize some acts which do not cause harm to others. These include alcohol consumption and consensual sex outside marriage. The country leaves it to prosecutors and judges to define those acts.
UAE faced severe backlash from the Muslim world in August after it recognized Israel. UAE signed a historic deal with Israel to normalize their relations.
Pakistanis and Muslims across the world have rejected the deal that comprises Palestine, its people, and the future of Palestine cause.
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