‘Increase in divorce cases in Bahrain is alarming’


These figures based on statistics compiled by the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs were released yesterday by the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS).

“The figures indicate an alarming increase of divorce among Bahrainis. There were total of 1305 couples from both the sects who filed for divorce last year – which means an average of three cases everyday,” BHRWS regional and International director Faisal Fulad told the Bahrain Tribune yesterday.

He said laws regarding divorce and custody cases favoured men and women continued to be at the receiving end. On the legal and constitutional terms, Fulad who is also a Shura Council member said they were ready to sit with the Council of representatives to pass the family law.

“This law is the only shield to protect women from divorce and custody cases. Women associations and unionists should form a strong lobby group to pressure the government and clergymen to pass the Family law,” he said.
Fouzia Rabea, head of Al Sharaka Bahrain chapter of Amnesty International told Bahrain Tribune, “The increase in the number of divorce cases can be attributed to personal issues. They could be victims of domestic violence or have marital problems. We as an NGO provide lawyers and counsellors to assist the wives.”

Women advocates have also met religious leaders to convince them to back the Family law. Clergymen continue to maintain their stand that no one has the authority to draft a family law because they fear it could abuse Islamic principles.

The lawmaker said they would include the divorce statistics in its shadow report which would be submitted to the Convention on the Elimination of Discriminaion Against Women (CEDAW) committee in October. Bahrain is signatory to CEDAW which it signed in 2002 with reservations. There were reservations on some articles concerning family law, equality, freedom of movement, and residence.

A study conducted in 2003 by the Prince Salman Social Centre in Riyadh revealed that divorce rates in Bahrain was 34 per cent. The Ministry of Social Development granted financial aid to 1,345 divorced women last year.


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