Human Rights under State-Enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt and India (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society)

Human Rights under State-Enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt and India (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society)

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Yüksel Sezgin
Cambridge University Press, 2013-08-22
EAN 9781107041400, ISBN10: 1107041406

Hardcover, 319 pages, 23.1 x 15.8 x 2.6 cm

'This is an intelligent, engaging, and conscientious comparative study of personal-status laws and their application in three postcolonial, post-WWII states: Israel, post-revolution Egypt, and post-independence India. The book shows convincingly how consistently some human rights, especially those of women, have been compromised or denied utterly in all three states, each of which has in various ways ceded control over personal-status issues such as marriage and divorce to its various religious communities and their leaders. The similarities as well as differences of the resulting situations in these three countries are remarkable, and Sezgin does a masterly, even-handed job of presenting both in a most accessible fashion; his thoughtful work even offers human-rights advocates sound and practical advice on possible lessons to be drawn from what has worked and what has not in gaining more adequate justice or even reform in these three states.' William A. Graham, Harvard University

'This book provides a valuable study of family law broadly and its impact on women's human rights in particular, in three diverse, yet similar legal contexts … The author manages to balance the view that plural justice systems are a reality in many contexts, and that they can be discriminatory in law and practice, on one hand. On the other hand, the book illustrates that such systems are open to transformative change, for the benefit of women. Engaging with state-enforced religious systems, as the author attempts, provides a space for further debate about the fact that so-called 'God's law' is not static, immutable, monolithic or homogenous. More importantly, the book avoids both common cultural relativist claims and also essentialist claims about certain cultures.' Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

'In this incisive study of law and religion, Yuksel Sezgin makes a powerful, empirically-grounded argument that when states have enacted 'personal status' laws based on religion, they have restricted the human rights of their citizens, particularly women. His argument is based not only on clear readings of political history but also on extensive interviews with local actors: a major work in the field.' John R. Bowen, Washington University, St Louis

'Sezgin offers a much-needed perspective on the tensions between personal status laws, customary practices and constitutional rights. By focusing on three case studies … [he] draws from a wealth of empirical data to illuminate the commonality of issues, including the dynamics of identity, the effects of plural ethno-religious legal systems on the human rights of women, and how a variety of regimes - 'autocratic' as well as 'democratic' - have failed to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. Moreover, by documenting strategies and best practices designed on the ground by women human rights advocates and their allies, this book provides an invaluable contribution in terms of offering practical recommendations, making it essential reading for human rights defenders, academics, and policy-makers alike.' Anissa Helie, Former Director, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Coordination Office

'An admirable study of legal pluralism, offering fresh analysis and insight.' Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Member, Former Vice-President, UN CEDAW Experts Committee

'This is a very welcome, thoughtful and in-depth study into the complexities and challenges entailed in ensuring human rights in the context of pluri-legal systems … Providing valuable insights into how pluri-legal systems interface with other agendas of the State, how State enforcement of religious personal status laws impact fundamental rights and freedoms and what strategies have and can be used to promote rights effectively, this study will catalyse further thinking, and hopefully, actions.' Farida Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights