Bahraini activists seek scholars’ support for Family Law


Seeking support from the religious scholars was one of the efforts exerted by members of the Women’s Union, some of whom expressed dismay that parliament has been dilly-dallying on the issue of the Family Law.


“We had asked for their support to lobby for the law. It has been sometime since the draft was presented but until now no concrete steps have been taken towards its passage,” said Mariam Al Rowaie, coordinator at the Women’s Union.
Al Rowaie said that the participation of the scholars is crucial in the passage of the law.


The Women’s Union is an umbrella organisation of over a dozen community-based women’s groups.


A draft version of the Family Law was prepared last year but women activists wanted a unified version that can apply to all citizens in Bahrain. The law especially touches on issues related to marriage, divorce, alimony and children’s custody.
Current practices on such issues differ according to sects.


The Family Law has been in the drafting stage since the 1980s. Last year, legislators said that a draft has been finalised but the draft has not gone up for deliberation.
Al Rowaie expressed concern that the Family Law lobby will be forgotten altogether unless the society and the scholars push for its passage.


Separate steps are being taken by the government to address family related issues. Earlier this year, a draft law was instead presented by legislators towards “family protection” which included a measure to prevent domestic violence.


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