Malaysian women and the law: rights, discriminations and reform
This booklet provides information on the legal rights of women in Malaysia, the main laws and procedures which discriminate against women and the difficulties faced by women in the Syariah Court system. The writers include proposed amendments to the existing discriminatory laws and procedures. .The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is the Women’s Convention is the international women’s rights treaty that out women’s rights and obliges governments to ensure respect for these rights. CEDAW provides the framework for advocating for women’s human rights. The Malaysian government ratified CEDAW in 1995. The Convention calls for national legislation to ban discrimination, recommends temporary special measures to speed equality in fact between men and women and action to modify social and cultural patterns that perpetuate discrimination.
Governments are encouraged, by the Committee, to involve NGOs in the report preparation as governments are seldom self-critical. NGOs can submit alternative or shadow reports, which are likely to analyse the government’s application of the Convention, or identify the obstacles to women’s equality,which demand further action.
It is important for NGOs and other institutions and individuals promoting women’s rights to provide an additional perspective on the status of women in Malaysia. Independent NGO analysis may address areas that are low on the governments’ agendas and may result in greater accountability on the part of the government. Through this monitoring process, NGOs can participate in dialogues with governments to promote effective implementation of the Convention.
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