Personal status laws in the Gulf Cooperation Council states regulate and impact women’s rights in every domain: education, work, freedom of movement, marriage or divorce, children, and access to resources within or outside the family.
Personal status laws in the Gulf Cooperation Council states regulate and impact women’s rights in every domain: education, work, freedom of movement, marriage or divorce, children, and access to resources within or outside the family. Establishing a consensus on a codified personal status law is a contested area of public discussion in the Gulf. In 1996, the GCC adopted a standard personal status law, the “Muscat Personal Status Code Document.” Kuwait was previously the only state to adopt a personal status code. Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain (though only for its Sunni population) have since based their personal status laws on the Muscat Document. Saudi Arabia remains the only GCC state without a codified personal status law.
This panel examines the various triggers and challenges for codification of personal status laws in the GCC. Additionally, the discussion covers the structural and social barriers that impede women’s rights despite the implementation of personal status laws. How do personal status laws in the Gulf Arab states compare to other countries in the region? What avenues are communities working through to change the laws? And what access do women have to justice?
Mohammad H. Fadel, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
Hala Aldosari, Visiting Scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (Moderator)
Check out the interview below with Kuwaiti lawyer and women’s rights activist Esra Alamiri, who spoke with AGSIW about personal status laws in Kuwait and their impact on women ahead of the March 31 event.
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