Tunisia ends law banning Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men

Tunisia ends law banning Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men

On Thursday, Tunisia’s presidency spokeswoman, Saida Garrach, announced that the country’s ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men has come to an end. The prior law had required men to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of the conversion before they were allowed to marry Muslim women. The ban has been in place since 1973. The president of Tunisia, Beji Caid Essebsi, had previously called for the end to the ban last month. Essebsi had argued that the law violated the Tunisia Constitution that was enacted in 2014. The removal of the ban [Al Jazeera report] is another step towards increased women’s rights in the predominantly Muslim country. The country has been seen as being ahead of many other Muslim countries since the 1956 Social Code that outlawed polygamy and granting rights to women.

Tunisia enacted [JURIST report] the constitution in 2014 amid what is now known as the Arab uprising. Tunisia has faced political turmoil since president Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali [BBC profile, news archive] left office amid nationwide protests in 2011. In July 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] condemned [JURIST report] the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader. In May 2013 Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged Tunisia to modify its draft constitution [JURIST report] to ensure protection of human rights. Two months earlier HRW urged Tunisia to repeal its criminal defamation law [JURIST report], which is typically considered a civil offense throughout the world.