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The Human Rights Council Working Group on the issue of Discrimination against Women in law and in practice

DAKAR (17 April 2015) – Following a nine-day visit to Senegal, Emna Aouij, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice delivered the following statement:

“On behalf of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice I would like to extend my deep gratitude for inviting us to undertake this official visit to Senegal during which I went to Dakar, Yeumbeul, Pikine, Kaolack, Diourbel, Fandène and Thiès. I thank all our interlocutors, the civil servants at national and local levels, representatives of civil society and UN entities for all these fruitful exchanges. I would also like to thank the various women’s groups and associations who shared their experiences with us.

Legal, institutional and political framework

First of all, I would like to commend the efforts made by Senegal to strengthen its legal framewor1 regarding the promotion and protection of women’s human rights and gender equality, especially the 1999 Law suppressing various forms of gender-based violence, including female genital mutilations, the 2008 Law on equal tax treatment, the 2010 Law on Parity and the 2013 Nationality Law, as well as the strategies and programs developed in this regard such as the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. The Working Group however regrets that in its Plan for an Emerging Senegal (Plan Sénégal Emergent), the Government has not adopted goals targeting explicitly gender equality. Furthermore, the Group noted that concerns about women’s rights are not always addressed in the budget lines both at national and local community levels.

Senegal has ratified all international and regional instruments on human rights without any reservation and reaffirmed its willingness to ensure effective implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by ratifying its Optional Protocol in 2000. The Group regrets however that between 1994 and 2013 Senegal did not submit its periodic reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

We also welcome the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Women, Children and Family Affairs which is driving the policy for the promotion and protection of women’s rights and the struggle against discrimination against women, as well as other ministries such as the Ministries of Health, Education, Vocational Training, among others and monitoring entities such as the National Observatory for Parity. The Working Group welcomes the creation of gender units in ministries but regrets that these lack additional budgets specifically allocated for the purpose as they are incorporated in the budgets of ministries, and that the concerned civil servants did not all receive the necessary training.

Development and inequalities

Despite efforts by the State and the International community, the country still faces a low Human Development Index (163/187) and strong inequalities, particularly related to gender (119/187 according to the UNDP Gender Inequality Index). Geographical disparities remain acute with a poverty rate estimated at 57% in rural areas against 26% in Dakar. Despite the efforts made, the illiteracy rate is still high (58.2%), and affects women to a greater extent ((63%). Most of the Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved.

All the actors met unanimously stated that Senegal could not aspire to development without a real and inclusive participation of women, but the uneven distribution of roles and responsibilities in the division of labour as well as the poor economic power of women compound the growing feminisation of poverty. Many legal but particularly socio-cultural constraints represent a barrier to achieving gender equality.

Although Senegal is committed, at the international and regional level, to fully respect women’s rights, the enforcement and adaptation of these texts in national laws remain inadequate. The provisions of the new 2001 Constitution which guarantees equality between women and men have not yet been translated into reality.

Family life

The large majority of stakeholders met agreed that the Family Code is the basis of serious discrimination against women covering all aspects of their life (work, education, health, security etc) and prevents the full realization of their rights. It sets for instance the marital authority2;and paternal authority exerted by the father as the head of the household, thereby seriously affecting the possibilities of development and empowerment for women, having therefore consequences on the way the household is handles and children raised.. Until some recent legal reforms were undertaken3, the man was for example the only one to receive family allowances and provide for their children. The choice of the family residence left to the husband is also problematic to women, especially for women employees but also in the context of polygamy.

In Senegal 35.2% of registered marriages are polygamous (this figure does not include the large number of unrecorded customary marriages). The Family Code states that “In the absence of an option at the time of marriage or afterwards, the man can have four wives concurrently”. The Working Group shares the opinion of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and of the Committee on the Rights of the Child4 whereby polygamy is contrary to the dignity of women and girls and violates their fundamental rights and liberty, including equality and protection within the family. It mainly causes damage to the physical and mental health of wives and their social welfare, property damage and deprivation to wives as well as emotional and property damage to children, often with serious consequences to their well-being. The State Parties to the CEDAW have specific obligations to discourage and prohibit polygamy which is contrary to the Convention. In addition, the Committee believes that polygamy has significant consequences on the economic well-being of women and their children. Studies have shown that polygamy often causes more poverty in the family, particularly in rural areas. The Maputo Protocol also promotes monogamy. The Working Group recommends an amendment to the Family Code in this regard.

Many stakeholders underscored the difficulties related to the issuance of civil registry documents, especially marriage, birth or death certificates. Divorce procedures are often problematic due to the absence of a marriage certificate following an unrecorded customary marriage5. The documents requested in this procedure (as for instance the husband ID) might be difficult to obtain for the women, in particular if she was repudiated. Although the Senegalese jurisprudence considers repudiation as a serious insult that can be a ground for divorce, it does not constitute a criminal offence.

The Working Group noted with regret that the Family Code sets the legal age of marriage at 16 for girls and 18 for men. No criminal sanction is provided against those responsible for early marriage. The Group recommends to raise the legal age of marriage to 18 for women and including a new provision in the Criminal Code criminalising early marriage.

The issue of inheritance raises many issues to Senegalese women. In common law, an equal share of inheritance is given to women while the definition of Islamic Law inheritance laid out in article 571 of the Family Code gives twice as much to men which is inconsistent with the equality principle promoted by the Constitution.

Despite efforts to sensitize on the importance of registering children at birth and the holding of mobile court hearings to favour the number of substitute birth certificates, the rate of children without birth certificates remains very high in Senegal, which can imply serious difficulties throughout life, particularly in the education of the girl who will be unable to undertake her exams in primary school without a birth certificate.

Right to health

Women’s health in Senegal is seriously affected by: (i) poor hygienic conditions, constraints to access water, particularly clean water, causing infectious parasitic diseases; (ii) lack of information and control over their sexual and reproductive rights and health leading to the first pregnancy at an early age (before 19) and a high fertility (almost 5 children per woman on average); (iv) a much higher HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in women: 61% of infected adults. The national prevalence rate is 0,5% but reaches18.5% in sex workers ; and (v) harmful practices and customs such as genital mutilations.

Maternal mortality, which is particularly revealing in terms of women’s condition and access to healthcare and how the healthcare system meets their needs, is still very high in Senegal. Every day five women die while giving birth in Senegal. The maternal mortality rate is 392/100,000.

In 2013 Senegal launched the Universal Health Coverage which aims improving health care services for women, children and vulnerable people. In addition, Senegal has established a system of free child deliveries and caesarean.

Women can face difficulties in accessing health care during the pregnancy, mainly due to financial constraints or difficult access to health structures. Despite efforts to establish health posts/centers in rural areas, these are sometimes too far for some communities and not properly equipped or adapted to women’s needs (in terms of traditional delivery for example). The Working Group welcomes the various prevention and sensitization programs developed at community level such as the Badianou Gokh (community godmother/itinerant midwife) linking up the community to the health centre/post.

Over the past years, the Senegalese authorities have made progress in the contraceptive prevalence through the family planning program. This rate was 12% in 2011. In 2014 16% of young sexually active single women and 6% of married women were using a contraceptive method. The Law 2005-15 establishing the right for women to decide on their reproductive health has however not lead to a radical change of attitudes. All the health workers met and many women admitted that they could not use contraceptives due to a refusal of their husband. The Group regrets that this Law did not include any progress in terms of voluntary termination of pregnancy for therapeutic purposes.

The Working Group observed that Senegal has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Africa. Voluntary termination of pregnancy is prohibited both under the Criminal Code (art.305 and 305 bis inherited from the colonial era) and under article 15 of the Law on Reproductive Health. A woman can seek a medically-assisted abortion only if her life is in danger, and for most women, especially rural women, the conditions laid out in the code of ethics requiring the opinion of three doctors, cannot be met.

Article 14 of the Maputo Protocol6 which Senegal ratified in 2004 compels State Parties to give access to medically-assisted abortion to women and girls who fell pregnant as a result of incest, rape or any other form of sexual assault, or when the mental or physical health of the pregnant woman or girl is in danger, or when there is a risk to the life of the pregnant woman, girl or to the foetus. More than ten years after the Protocol ratification, Senegal is yet to align its Criminal Code with the provisions of this Protocol. Illegal abortions in Senegal are reported to be the fifth cause of maternal mortality. International law on human rights acknowledges that the enjoyment of an optimal mental health, including reproductive health is one of the fundamental rights. The CEDAW establishes the right for women to control their fertility. The Committee for the Elimination of discrimination against women has strongly disapproved the laws restricting voluntary termination of pregnancy, particularly those prohibiting and criminalizing voluntary termination of pregnancy in all circumstances. It confirmed that these laws do not prevent women from resorting to illegal and risky abortions and called the restrictive abortion laws a violation of the rights to life, health and information. Many Special Committees and Procedures have voiced similar concerns.

Some actors said that this extremely restrictive law penalises Senegalese women living in precarious socio-economic condition (a large majority of women) because they are unable to afford medically-assisted abortion in a private clinic as may do a minority elite. The Working Group strongly supports the current reform project of the Penal Codeto extend medically-assisted abortion to cases of rape and incest. However, even this proposal presents some limits as it does not take into account the risks for the mother’s mental health and cases of serious foetal malformation or nonviable foetus.

Participation in political life

Senegal has made significant progress in women’s participation in political life. For the first time in a presidential election, two women were candidates in 2012. The 2010 Law establishing absolute parity in elective and semi-elective bodies marked a historic milestone in promoting women’s political participation in Senegal. Today, the country is ranked 7th in the world regarding the number of women parliamentarians who make up 42.7% of the National Assembly with 64 women out of 150 MPs (against 19.2% in 2001). The national rate of women elected in local governing bodies has tripled from the former to the current legislature from 15.9% to 47.2%.

Yet the 2014 local elections showed that women’s political marginalization in Senegal has still not been resolved. Women candidates faced significant obstruction from several influential religious groups, politicians but also from the general public, including women themselves. After the elections, it appeared that the law was not fully observed by all local bodies. This resistance is challenging the Law on Parity and shows that it has not been fully accepted and significant efforts are still to be made to eliminate all forms of discrimination and negative stereotypes deeply rooted in the Senegalese culture, which are hampering women’s equal access to decision-making bodies.

Several interlocutors outlined some difficulties to scrupulously uphold parity in the district plurality representation system, to impose parity for the Bureau of the National Assembly (only 6 women out of 16) and for the election of local executive bureau (communes and districts). Unfortunately, out of 557 communes today there are only 13 women mayors. Out of 42 District Councillors, only two are Presidents. Moreover, even at the executive level, this reluctance to place women at decision-making positions is visible: out of 34 ministers and deputy ministers, 7 are women (with traditionally-attributed tasks like Social, Family, Women Affairs, etc). If State Secretaries are included, women end up with less than 18% of presence in the current Government.

The Group welcomes the Dakar Appeal Court’s and the Supreme Court decisions to cancel the election of the Mayor and deputies of the communes of Keur Massar and Kaolack for breaching the Parity Law. The Group urges the competent authorities to implement these decisions promptly. The Group furthermore regrets that a list which did not respect parity was validated during the local elections in Touba and no appeal was filed.

Participation in economic life

The rate of women’s labour participation was 66% in 2013. Although there is no formal barrier to their full participation in the country’s economic life, in practice women face many obstacles.

Indeed, the unemployment rate among women is nearly twice as high as men (13.3% vs. 7.7%). 83% of women workers are employed in the informal sector and thus lack access to basic social services such as social security and health insurance, working long hours in unhealthy conditions and often lacking security.

Furthermore, only 34% of the micro-credit granted by the State is allocated to women, and in amounts that are up to 20% lower than those allocated to men, although women are better at reimbursing loans than men (15% vs. 24% defaults of payment for men). The Working Group noted however that those micro-credits do not ensure the sustainability of women’s economic activities. It is essential to seek solutions for a better orientation of women and for building their financial capacity in the long term. The Group noted the blatant lack of monitoring for assessing the real impact of empowerment programmes which, at first glance, appear to be poorly coordinated and do not seem to be providing a satisfactory solution for definitely lifting women out of poverty. The Group regrets that only 7% of businesses registered with the Chamber of Commerce of Dakar are headed by women.

The Working Group is particularly concerned about women’s very limited and unequal access to land. Although Article 15 of the Senegalese Constitution provides for equal access to land, less than 2% of women have access by buying it, less than 15% through allocation, and only 25% through inheritance. Yet, women carry out 70% of agricultural works and provide a more than 80% of agricultural production, mainly in food crops. Furthermore, they bear 90% of the domestic burden. They also face limited access to productive resources. Social norms that favour the recognition of men’s status as the head of the land, women’s low mobility and their relatively low level of income, lead to de facto discrimination in access to land as well as in the control and use of products from the land. The Working Group welcomes the current project for reform of land property and hopes that quotas will be established in order to ensure equal access to land to women. The Group welcomes the existence of federations of rural women, but also encourages the development of women cooperatives. The Group further encourages the pursuit of mechanisms aimed at reducing domestic burden for rural women, but recommends most importantly, increased awareness raising of men to ensure co-responsibility in providing care to children and dependant relatives, as well as more equal sharing of domestic tasks.

The Working Group noted that women employed as domestic workers are often victim of exploitation, sexual violence, illiterate and marginalised. They lack access to basic social services, work in poor conditions and are paid well below the minimum wage. The Group recommends in this regard the ratification of Convention 189 on Domestic Workers and the adoption of urgent measures to ensure decent work for all women workers.

The Group welcomes the initiatives taken in order to develop kindergartens and child care structures at the community level (“cases des tout-petits”) and thereby facilitate women’s integration into working life. However, it was acknowledged that these preschool institutions are insufficient: some 223,000 children are provided care, while the demand corresponds to more than 1.6 million children.

The Working Group encourages the implementation of special temporary measures such as quotas, in order to address the issue of discrimination against women in employment, particularly at the upper levels of State administration (Prefecture, Governance).

Education

The Working Group is pleased to note that Senegal has achieved gender parity in access to primary education. Girls’ gross enrolment rate rose from 62.3% in 2000 to 98.6% in 2011, against 71.9% and 89.5% for boys7. However, there remains strong geographic disparity. In rural areas, girls are less likely to have access to and succeed in the education system than in urban areas. School dropouts are more important for girls. Domestic work, sexual abuse in schools, early marriage and pregnancy, deprive 9% of children aged 7 to 14 of opportunities to continue their studies. This rate reaches 13% in rural areas which are more attached to conservative values conducive to early marriage. Girls are also vulnerable to violence on their way to school, particularly in rural areas. The Group recommends that reporting mechanisms should be systematically put in place in schools in order to detect any acts of violence or abuse. Despite a circular8 allowing girls not to be definitely excluded from school when they are pregnant, the education of these girls is suspended and sometimes they never return to school.. Not only the girl is stigmatised, but she also sees her future opportunities considerably reduced

Although Senegalese legislation only authorises girls’ marriage from the age of 16, the rate of early marriages remains very high. 24.3% of girls aged 15 to 19 are married. The rate is 36% in rural areas and 52% in the poorest areas. A study shows that in polygamous marriages, the second, third and fourth wives are increasingly younger. These early marriages often lead to early pregnancies that girls may wish to terminate, in particular to safeguard their health, which they are not allowed to do presently. 16% of girls aged 15 to 19 already have a child. This rate is 20% in rural areas against 11% in urban areas. It reaches 31% in the poorest regions.

Girls therefore do not access higher levels of education like boys. Only 33% of girls baccalaureate holders enter higher education.

Violence against women

All our interlocutors expressed deep concern at the high prevalence of all forms of violence against women, perpetuated by conservative patriarchal attitudes and values. The Working Group received no statistics from the Government in this respect, but all stakeholders emphasised the alarming numbers of rape, incest, sexual harassment, domestic violence (verbal, psychological, physical and sexual), unanimously recognising that violence against women is a serious and widespread problem that requires urgent measures at all levels. All actors involved in the fight against this violence denounced the blatant lack of shelters for women victim of domestic violence. However, the true scope of these phenomena remains difficult to determine, due to low reporting and the recourse to amicable settlement. The preservation of the family unity often prevails to the detriment of respect for women’s rights.

The Group expressed its great concern and indignation about sexual violence against girls in schools and the increasing number of early pregnancies. The Group considers it unacceptable that in schools which are supposed to be an educational and protective environment, girls are sexually abused, and often by their teachers.

Many actions have been undertaken, in particular by various associations and the technical and financial partners, involving grassroots communities, religious and opinion leaders, in order to combat this violence. However, the Group regrets the lack of a holistic policy and specific budget line to combat gender-based violence. The legal measures and programmes adopted by the Government to combat this scourge have thus far been fragmented responses.

The Working Group was horrified to observe that in 2015, 25% of women aged 15 to 49 reported to have been victim of excision, 13% for the 0-15 years old the figure even reaches 92% in some localities. Despite the adoption in 1999 of a law prohibiting excisions, and despite many preventive actions carried out by various stakeholders, all interlocutors stated that this practice persists, particularly in the most remote areas. It seems that some opinion leaders and Marabouts have been pushing for the continuation of excision. It is imperative to take radical measures and to deploy every possible means to eradicate this ignominious form of violence with serious and irreversible psychological and physical consequences for girls and women, which can even lead to death following the act itself or during childbirth. It is essential to encourage reporting and to sanction severely those responsible, even if the mutilation was carried out abroad. Since the adoption of the law more than 15 years ago, only 9 cases were reported. Sanction is a deterrent and represents one of the most powerful prevention tools. No belief or custom should be used or diverted for the purpose of violating the rights of women and girls, torturing and oppressing them.

The Group was also informed that lesbian women suffer from considerable violence, stigmatisation and exclusion, even within civil society organisations involved in the promotion of gender equality, and do not feel supported at all in their fight. Disabled women are also in a situation of extreme vulnerability and are the victims of multiple forms of discrimination, due to difficult access to education, employment, health services and social insertion, , to public places (such as markets) as well as public infrastructures and buildings.

The Group is also concerned by the situation of women in detention. In 2013, 1754 women were in detention. 16% of the female prison population have been condemned for infanticide9 and 3% for abortion. Infanticide represents 64% of the grounds for imprisonment of girls aged 13 to 18. The Working Group was informed that the detention conditions of pregnant women and women with young children do not comply with international standards10 in this regard. . The Group encourages alternative sentencing for these women, in particular those who are pregnant and/or mothers of children under the age of 2. Lengthy pre-trial detentions should also be avoided.

Access to justice

A vast majority of stakeholders met insisted on the tremendous difficulties women have to face to have access to justice. Some high level government officials even referred to “an obstacle course”. According to most of the actors, there is a great level of mistrust towards the justice system, but also towards the police and gendarmerie, despite some progress noted. Police officers also recognised the need to improve the way women victim of violence are received in police stations and gendarmeries, and to change the face of the police by recruiting more women (currently there are only 10% of women in the police force).

The Group noted that training in human rights, particularly in women’s rights, was not standardised for justice and police officers. The Group insists on the need for adequate training of all relevant stakeholders in the initial currriculum, as well as ongoing training during the professional life.

Access to justice for women victim of violence is particularly difficult. Fear of stigmatisation, retaliation, the cost of procedures, difficulty of access in rural areas, difficulty to gather the necessary evidence, lack of women in police forces and gaps in the training of the personnel, are as many factors that prevent women from filing complaints. When they do, the complaints are not always duly acted upon. Moreover, it is unacceptable that women have to pay between 5,000 and 10,000 CFA to obtain a medical certificate in cases of sexual violence. Finally, when perpetrators are arrested and convicted, the dysfunctions of justice enable them not to fully serve their sentence. In this connection, there is a need for the mobilisation of all the judiciary to combat impunity. The Group welcomes the establishment of community-based counselling centres (points d’écoute), a positive initiative that engages grassroots communities in the prevention of violence, but which raise some concern regarding the tendency to conduct mediations in cases which should be referred to penal courts. Women are also faced with discrimination at all levels of administration; even for obtaining a birth certificate for their child as some civil servants require the presence of the father, with no legal basis for this requirement. Obtaining a marriage certificate may be extremely complex, especially for customary marriages that were not registered. Without a marriage certificate, the divorce cannot be obtained.

Due to serious failures in the judicial system, despite some efforts made to propose a community justice system (justice de proximité)) through the Maisons de Justice (legal advice centres), certain associations are taking over, offering free legal advice that support women in the various procedures they are engaged in. The Working Group regrets however that the associations cannot bring civil action, and encourages a reform of the penal procedural code along these lines.

Legal illiteracy also represents a great handicap for women. The Group notes that there is a patent need for popularisation and dissemination of laws, including in local languages.

Women and media

Many stakeholders met denounced the negative role of some media which reproduce and perpetuate degrading women stereotypes, confining them to their role of submissive wife, mother, caretaker and guardian of the domestic tasks. Although women’s presence in the media has increased, their image has deteriorated. Furthermore, only a minority elite which is not representative of the reality of Senegalese women have access to these media.. Some of these media are behind a propaganda that sets back women’s rights. Some were even, recently, the accomplices of a campaign against medical abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Conclusions

Despite notable progress in its legislation and numerous policies and programmatic activities aimed at promoting and protecting women’s rights and gender equality, Senegal must step up its efforts in order to ensure effective implementation of the rights of Senegalese women.

To do so, the country must bring its legislation in line with international legal instruments on women’s human rights, and fiercely combat cultural resistance to the full realisation of women’s rights. Under the Senegalese Constitution, Senegal is defined as a secular Republic which cannot allow harmful cultural considerations to have primacy over the international law of women’s human rights and weigh so heavily on the effective implementation of laws and policy development. As indicated by someHuman Rights Council Special Procedures as well as Treaty bodies, freedom of religion shall not be used to justify discriminations against women. The rule of law must be strengthened by the promotion of a culture of respect for the rights of women and girls.

To that end, the leadership of the Ministry of Women should be reaffirmed and the development of gender-sensitive budgets should be systematised. The Observatory for National Parity should also be reinforced. The rights of women and girls should be disseminated to all segments of the population, engaging the media, men and boys as well as community and religious leaders. Women’s human rights should be part of the curricula from primary school, and the promotion of protective social norms should be affirmed, especially at the community level. There is also a need to strengthen women’s social movement which faces well organised conservative forces.

Effective empowerment of women holds a central place in women’s emancipation. In order to break the chains of silence and inequality, Senegalese women should be able to access and remain in a quality education system, be duly trained and informed, access economic activities ensuring sustainable economic development, and be able to rely on a justice system that is accessible to all women, without discrimination. The fight against corruption and impunity is a key element of this access to an effective justice.

Special temporary measures such as quotas need to be established, not only for elective positions, but also in civil service and private-sector companies, to ensure equal opportunities for Senegalese women and men.

The framework for coordination of all stakeholders involved in the promotion of women’s rights should be strengthened and should allow for the effective implementation of all policies, strategies, plans and programmes. It is imperative to depart from fragmented actions and a logic of projects.

It is inadmissible that under the pretext of tradition, customs or even poverty, girls and women see their fundamental rights violated, are victims of violence, abuse, and live in inhuman conditions.

Our conclusions and recommendations will be developed in depth in a report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2016”.

END

The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice was created by the Human Rights Council in 2011 to identify, promote and exchange views, in consultation with States and other actors, on good practices related to the elimination of laws that discriminate against women. The Group is also tasked with developing a dialogue with States and other actors on laws that have a discriminatory impact where women are concerned.

The Working Group is composed of five independent experts. The Current Chair-Rapporteur is Ms. Emna Aouij (Tunisia), Vice-President: Ms. Eleonora Zielinska (Poland), and other members are Ms. Kamala Chandrakirana (Indonesia), Ms. Alda Facio (Costa Rica) and Ms. Frances Raday (Israel/United Kingdom). Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WGWomen/Pages/WGWomenIndex.aspx


Notes:

1. Law 97-17 on the Labour Code establishing equal salary between men and women, payment for maternity leaves (1997), the 99-05 Law amending some provisions of the Criminal Code suppressing female genital mutilations, sexual harassment, domestic violence, paedophilia, corruption of minors and spelling out rape, making assault and battery on a female person aggravating circumstances; The 2005-06 Law on Human Trafficking, the 2008-01 Law on equal tax treatment between men and women, the 2010-11 Law establishing absolute Parity between men and women in all totally or partly elective institutions, the 03-2013 Law allowing the woman to transmit her nationality to her child and her non-national husband.

2. Article 152: “The husband is the head of the household. He exerts such power in the common interest of the household and children”

3. Decrees No 2006-1309 and 1310 (2006) enabling woman employee to support her husband and children and the 2008 Tax Equality Law

4. Joint general recommendation /observation no 31 of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and no 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on harmful practices, November 2014

5. A customary marriage can be recorded afterwards in the presence of two witnesses.

6. Protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights related to women’s rights in Africa also known as Maputo Protocol adopted by the African Union Heads of State and Government Conference in 2003 in Maputo (Mozambique).

7. Law 91-22, providing for compulsory and free primary schooling. Ensure respect for the right to education for all children through effective application of law 2004-37 setting out the compulsory school age (6-16 years of age).

8. Circular letter n°004379 of 11/10/2007 relating to early marriages and pregnancies in schools

9. Infanticide is a crime often resulting from pre-existing situations of discrimination or violence, in particular pregnancies following acts of sexual violence.

10. A/65/229 Bangkok Rules