Mali: Redrafting of Controversial Family Law Pending
Friday, September 4, 2009 11:02 AM

President Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali sent a proposed new Family Law to the Malawi legislature on 27 August 2009 for revision. The proposed legislation would create more than 1,100 new articles that would, among other things, change marriage law, abolish the death penalty, and recognize only secular marriage. Through the new law, the minimum marriage age would have been raised to 18 and girls would receive inheritance rights. 


While proponents of the new code claimed it would advance women’s rights and protect women and girls, there was a significant backlash from predominant religious and cultural leaders who claim that the legislation does not take local specificities and values into account.


Conversely, Oumo Touré, president of a national women’s association of NGOs, believes that the legislation is a “constitutional and democratic demand” (IRIN News) that would protect Mali’s female population, 60% of whom marry before age 18. Other proponents of the code argue that it would advance women’s equality and create more social justice in Mali.

Lawmakers have stated that they will “listen to all sectors of society” (IRIN News) in the redrafting process. 

Compiled from: Awid Women's Rights, “Mali: Threats of violence greet new family code.” (19 August 2009);  IRIN, “Mali: Back to the drawing board for new family code.” (1 September 2009.)