Mali: New Family Law Upholds Discrimination Against Women

Amadou Toumani Toure, the president of Mali, has signed into action a new family law that reflects criticisms of the 2009 law. The 2009 version gave women greater rights in cases of divorce or inheritance, increased the legal age of marriage, and removed provisions stating that a woman must obey her husband. However, after many protests the law was sent back to parliament to be revised. Taking back those advancements, the recently-enacted law states that men are considered the head of the family, that women must obey their husbands, and that 16 is the legal age of marriage for girls.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) criticized the new version of the law, saying, “The modified text goes against the very principles of equal rights and non-discrimination.”FIDH noted that Mali’s new family law has cost them the opportunity to eliminate discrimination and harmful practices against women and that the new code violates Mali’s international obligations as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.


Compiled from: Mali’s new Family Law: Women’s Rights Denied, Discrimination UpheldFIDHMali: Govt Enacts New Family Law Rolling Back Women's RightsAll Africa (2 February 2012).