First Shelter for Battered Women Established in Syria
Monday, September 15, 2008 9:29 AM

Women’s e-News has published an article on the establishment of the first official shelter for battered women in Syria.  The article highlights the difficulties Syrian women face when confronted with domestic violence.  In particular, it emphasizes how existing laws undermine women’s rights by making issues such as domestic violence a private matter.  As a result, perpetrators of domestic violence and honor killings often face little or no legal penalty. 

The author notes that Syria is party to the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), yet the country’s penal code continues to allow for impunity for those committing domestic violence.  The publication cites Article 548 of the penal code, which excuses domestic killers from legal punishment, as a blatant violation of the CEDAW Convention.  Other established legal norms also disadvantage women.  In cases of adultery, the burden of proof is on the woman.  Additionally, in the event of domestic violence, women rarely pursue legal redress because of the stigma attached to a public response to what is deemed a private affair.  The article acknowledges positive steps that have been taken in recent years.  These include longer paid maternity leaves and more permissive maternal custody laws.  Ultimately, however, the article states that much more work needs to be done in order to eliminate domestic violence and discrimination against women. 

To read full article, click here.

Compiled from: Dominique Soguel, “Syrian Case Tests Tolerance on Killing Kinswomen”, Women’s e-News, 7 September, 2008.