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France : Protest against different laws for different categories of citizens

samedi 11 février 2012, par siawi3

Statement and Petition from WICUR
- Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights

Paris, France, 11.2.2012


Today we are witnessing an offensive by religious fundamentalisms and setbacks of all kinds of which women are first victims. The issues of « personal status » are crucial. They raise both the issue of gender equality and the recognition of women as citizens.

There are discriminations and problems linked to legal inequalities faced by women be they French or aliens on account of the implementation by the French authorities of laws governing family relationships, more commonly known as « family code » or « personal status laws ». Because of bilateral agreements, the laws which govern women‘s lives within family and are discriminatory are being implemented in France while they are bitterly fought by women in most Muslim countries.

Remedies are available but are complicated and time consuming as several laws interact and sometimes diverge.

Hence, we denounce :

Those bilateral agreements, bilateral conventions or procedures signed between France and a number of countries (Maghreb, Africa, Asia, and Middle East) whereby decisions handed by a foreign court are binding in violation of the principle of equality between women and men enshrined in the French Constitution and contained in France’s international commitments.

Those discriminatory practices and customs which are sources of violence against women being maintained even if the laws of the countries of origin are no longer discriminatory.

We REFUSE to recognize any foreign family codes and personal status laws based on religious beliefs and that violate women’s rights


An autonomous legal status for migrant women as well as a status independent from that of the spouse

The Applicable rule is the law of domicile as it is the case in some European countries.

All necessary actions be immediately undertaken to protect the rights of migrant women or women of « migrant origin » through a clear rejection of cultural relativism now undermining the basic rights of women.

France which has ratified CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) should guarantee equal rights any person living in France, especially if they hold French citizenship, but also any alien. Any law violating the rights of women should no longer be accepted on the grounds that the very law prevails elsewhere.