Turkey: Justification on for a Domestic Violence law on the Protection of the Family January 23, 2006
Source: Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) Translated from Turkish to English
Clause 1: If a spouse or child or another member of the family living under the same roof is subject to abuse, and notification is made either by the victim or by the Public Prosecutor, in addition to the provisions of the Turkish Civil Code, taking into consideration the specific circumstances, a Justice of the Peace can pass one or more of the following rulings or take any other measures that are deemed appropriate. The accused spouse can be ordered:
Not to use violence or threatening behavior against the other spouse or children (or another member of the family living under the same roof);
To leave the dwelling shared with the spouse or children if there are any and not to approach the dwelling occupied by the spouse and children or their place of work;
Not to damage the property of the spouse or children (or of others living under the same roof);
Not to cause distress to the spouse or children (or others living under the same roof) using, means of communication;
To surrender a weapon or other similar instruments to the police;
Not to arrive at the shared dwelling while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances nor use such substances in the shared dwelling.
The above-mentioned measures can be applied for a period not exceeding six months and, if the accused does not abide by the rulings, s/he shall be warned that s/he is liable to arrest and confinement.
The judge shall take into account the standard of living of the victim and rule on maintenance payments accordingly.
Under the first paragraph of the statute, no fee is charged for applications.
Clause 2: A copy of the protection order is entrusted to the Public Prosecutor by the court. The Public Prosecutor monitors the application of the order thorough the police. In the event of the order being implemented, the police, without the need for the victim to submit a written application, will themselves conduct an investigation and transfer the documents to the Public Prosecutor within the shortest possible time.
The Public Prosecutor can file a suit at the Magistrates Court against the spouse who does not abide by the order. The location of the case and the avoidance of loss of time in its expedition are governed by Law No 3005 on the Criminal Courts.
The spouse who has not abided by the protection order can be sentenced to a prison sentence of three to six months.
Clause 3: This law comes into effect from the date on which it is promulgated.
Clause 4: The provisions of this law are implemented by the Council of Ministers.
COROLLARY TO THE CLAUSES OF THE LAW
Clause 1: The first clause of the draft provides for a member of the family who suffers abuse within the family, notification of which is either made by the victim or the Public Prosecutor, to secure one or more protective rulings, in addition to the provisions of the Turkish Civil Code.
For example, if a husband arrives home under the influence of alcohol and abuses his wife and children the court can pass a ruling that he is "not to arrive home under the influence of alcohol" or, if the husband needs to be kept away from the home, it can issue more than one ruling, such as "not to approach the wife's house or workplace", "Not to damage the wife's possessions", "to inform the accuses spouse's superior at work or his employer" or "to forbid the accused spouse from coming to their shared home. In extraordinary circumstances the court can also pass other similar rulings in addition to those enumerated.
If the Magistrate's Court considers that there is a possibility of the victim again being subject to abuse then it can pass an order immediately after the application without need for witnesses or hearing from the other side. Those who have suffered abuse are not responsible for proving to the court the possibility of being subjected to abuse. The court can issue rulings for a period of up to six months and if the accused does not abide by the court rulings s/he is warned that s/he is liable to arrest and confinement.
The presiding judge can make a maintenance order so as to prevent the victim from becoming impoverished. In order to set the amount of maintenance, an expert is required to conduct an investigation and determine the standard of living, of both the plaintiff and the defendant. In order for the victim not to incur any financial expense, no charge shall be made for applications to the Magistrates Court.
Clause 2: According to the second clause of the draft, a copy of the protection order shall be forwarded to the Public Prosecutor by the Magistrates Court and the responsibility for ensuring that the order is complied with shall be delegated to the police. In the event of the protection order not being complied with, the police shall conduct its own investigation, without need for the victim to submit a formal application, and forward the documents to the Public Prosecutor in the shortest possible time. The Public Prosecutor shall open a case at the Magistrates Court in the name of the state against the spouse who is not complying with the protection order. The aforementioned case shall be conducted in the manner and with the speed foreseen by the law on Criminal Courts.
At the conclusion of the trial, if the spouse who has not complied with the provisions of the protection order is guilty of another crime than s/he is liable to a prison sentence of three to six months. The passing of the prison sentence foreseen in this clause is based upon the accused being previously warned by the court of the consequences of his/her failure to abide by the protection order and the persistent endangering of the unity of the family. The aim of the setting of a six month upper limit for the prison sentence is to act as a deterrent and to ensure that the sentence does not fall within the scope of the punishments foreseen in the 119th clause of the Turkish Criminal Code.
Clause 3: The law will come into effect on its promulgation.
Clause 4: The implementation of the law is the responsibility of the competent authority.
Nasib Wanita Tidak Terbela Rang Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam Beri Lebih Kesempatan Kepada Lelaki
30 December 2005
Merujuk kepada apa yang dikatakan oleh Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Dr Abdullah Md Zin, ddalam Berita Harian pada Rabu 28 Disember 2005, Sisters in Islam ingin menjelaskan bahawa Rang Undang-Undang tersebut mempunyai banyak kelemahan dan ketidaksempurnaan. Terdapat undang-undang keluarga Islam di negara lain yang memberi lebih hak kepada pihak isteri. Misalnya di Iran, isteri yang diceraikan berhak menuntut ujrah mithl atau upah kerja daripada suaminya untuk segala kerja rumah yang telah dilakukan oleh isteri selama tempoh perkahwinan mereka.
Di dalam undang-undang kita pula, walaupun isteri diberi hak menuntut harta sepencarian daripada suami apabila berlaku perceraian atau apabila suami berpoligami, hak yang sama juga diberi kepada suami yang boleh menuntut harta sepencarian daripada isteri. Bahasa yang digunakan (“mana-mana pihak”) tidak membezakan tuntutan harta sepencarian sama ada oleh isteri atau oleh suami. Ini amat tidak adil kerana pihak yang boleh berpoligami adalah suami. Ia memberi kesempatan kepada suami yang hendak berpoligami untuk mengugut isteri sedia ada yang hendak menuntut harta sepencarian bahawa suami juga akan menuntut harta sepencarian. Ini amat tidak adil dan melanggar perintah dalam al-Qur’an yang melarang perkahwinan poligami jika dikhuatri membawa ketidakadilan kepada pihak isteri. Memanglah tidak adil jika isteri mengahwini pihak suami semasa suami itu tidak berharta, dan setelah bertungkus-lumus bersama suaminya, apabila suami menjadi kaya, dia mengahwini perempuan lain pula. Jika isteri boleh menuntut harta sepencarian daripada suaminya, ini boleh mengurangkan ketidakadilan. Tetapi amatlah tidak adil jika terdapat kemungkinan bahawa suami juga boleh menuntut harta sepencarian daripada isteri, atau supaya rumah kelamin mereka dijual bagi membantu menyara isteri barunya.
Tuntutan suami untuk harta sepencarian, sama ada semasa perceraian atau poligami, dipermudahkan lagi dengan peruntukan baru seksyen 107A yang membolehkan suami mendapat perintah mahkamah untuk menghalang isteri atau bekas isteri daripada melupuskan hartanya. Peruntukan ini telah mengakibatkan kes Puan Zaidah …. di Negeri Johor di mana pihak suami berjaya mendapat perintah Mahkamah membekukan akaun-akaun simpanan isteri atas alasan tuntutan harta sepencarian. Isteri malang ini menghadapi kesusahan menanggung diri dan anak-anaknya kerana dia hanya seorang surirumah dan akaun simpanan itulah satu-satunya punca pendapatannya. Suaminya yang memperolehi pendapatan lebih dari RM30,000 sebulan tidak memberikan nafkah isteri selama prosiding perceraian berlangsung, dan juga tidak memberi nafkah yang mencukupi untuk anak-anak.
Mengikut Hukum Syara’, suami tidak mempunyai hak ke atas harta isterinya. Harta isteri adalah hartanya sendiri, manakala isteri berhak mendapat saraan nafkah daripada suaminya. Hak dan kewajipan yang berbeza mengenai harta dan nafkah ada kaitannya dengan pembahagian pusaka yang memberi bahagian yang lebih kepada lelaki daripada perempuan. Bahagian harta pusaka yang lebih kepada lelaki sebenarnya berhubung-kait dengan kewajipan kewangan yang dikenakan ke atas kaum lelaki. Ia juga boleh dikatakan berkaitan dengan soal harta sepencarian. Sumbangan kewangan pihak suami bagi belanja harian rumahtangga tidaklah boleh dianggap sebagai sumbangan kewangan terhadap harta yang diperolehi oleh isterinya, kerana memanglah kewajipan suami menyara nafkah isteri dan anak-anaknya. Tetapi sumbangan kewangan pihak isteri bagi belanja harian rumahtangga patutlah dianggap sebagai sumbangan kewangan terhadap harta yang diperolehi oleh suaminya, kerana bukanlah kewajipan isteri untuk menyara nafkah suami dan anak-anaknya. Apa yang dikatakan oleh Datuk Dr Abdullah Zin bahawa suami tidak boleh usik pendpatan isteri kerana ia manjadi hak mutlak isteri memanglah benar dari segi Hukum Syara’. Tetapi ia tidak benar dari segi peruntukan Rang Undang-Undang ini kerana terdapat seksyen yang membenarkan suami berbuat demikian. Oleh sebab itulah, kami menyeru agar penelitian semula dibuat kerana memang terdapat peruntukan dalam Rang Undang-Undang yang melanggar prinsip keadilan Islam yang sememangnya bertujuan melindungi kebajikan wanita dan kanak-kanak. Kemusykilan kami bukan sekadar mengenai tafsiran atau sikap “bias” yang dikhuatri terdapat pada hakim lelaki di mahkamah, tetapi juga melibatkan isi kandungan peruntukan Rang Undang-Undang itu sendiri yang tidak adil adil dan tidak membela nasib wanita.
JAG Calls for new Muslim Family Law and Public Hearings
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) calls for a new model Muslim Family Law based on the principles of justice and equality to deal with the realities of changing times and circumstances affecting Muslim men, women and the family institution in Malaysia today.
JAG therefore calls on Parliament to establish a Parliamentary Select Committee on Islamic Family Law (IFL) to get feedback from women on their experiences with the law and the shariah court system in their search for legal redress to family problems.
The patchwork attempt at amending the IFL since the 1990s has further discriminated against Muslim women, at a time when the Government is amending civil laws to recognise equal rights between men and women of other faiths. Since the 1980s our sisters of other faith have begun to enjoy equal rights in marriage and divorce, in guardianship of their children and in inheritance through a series of law reform.
But for Muslim women, law reform made divorce and polygamy easier for Muslim men. Men who are already priviledged in getting double the women’s share of inheritance because of their responsibility as the family provider is now enabled to claim a share of their wives’ matrimonial assets at the time of polygamy and divorce.
This continuting discrimination against Muslim women is unacceptable as it discriminates against some 30 percent of the population. The use of religion to justify this discrimination can no longer be tolerated as it denies Muslim women the right to enjoy their Constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination and to enjoy the universality of rights among all citizens that Malaysia has committed itself to in several UN conventions. Above all, it violates the principles of justice and equality upheld in the Qur’an.
Just as the 1976 Law Reform Marriages and Divorce Act governing citizens of other faith, was drafted only after a Parliamentary Select Committee held public hearings throughout the country, so should Muslims be enabled to participate democratically in the process of decision making on a law that governs their personal lives.
In the meantime we urge that the existing 1984 Islamic Family Law remains in force and that this IFL Amendments Bill, 2005, not be gazetted and enforced. A precedent was set in 1994 when the Domestic Violence Act was not gazetted for two years to deal with objections from some of those in authority who believed that Muslim men have a right to beat their wives and that domestic violence was a family matter and therefore should come under the Islamic Family Law, and not under Federal criminal law.
Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG): Sisters in Islam (SIS) All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) Women’s Centre for Change Penang (WCC) Women’s Development Collective (WDC) MTUC – Women’s Section
23 December 2005
Re: Suspend the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005 (23 December 2005)
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) as a member of JAG reiterates the call by Sisters In Islam to suspend the IFL for further review and scrutiny. WAO would like to share our experience in dealing with Muslim women who seek counselling and advice from our social workers when they face matrimonial problems. WAO statistics show that in 2004, 37% of the residents at the Refuge, and 26% of clients for telephone counseling were Muslim women. The majority of the women were experiencing problems related to polygamous husbands. The threat of polygamy and a husband entering into a polygamous marriage can be a form of mental abuse, and in fact amounts to domestic violence. Women identify this experience as trauma making them feel powerless, unloved and abandoned. The women reveal that the fear of having to live in a polygamous marriage is used to control and coerce them in their marriage. The amendments to the IFL has created a relaxation of the conditions for polygamy, where it is amended from the present ‘just and necessary’ to ‘just or necessary’, will make it much easier for men to be polygamous. This will put women in a more vulnerable situation, thus more open to abuse. Furthermore the gender neutral language used in the section on matrimonial property will also enable the husband to obtain a court injunction to prevent the disposition of property by a wife or former wife. This will further compound the financial problems that many women are already facing. A repeated problem faced by the women who seek our services is access to maintenance from their husbands. The lack of financial support to many of the women makes it very hard for them to raise their families. The present IFL can be a threat to the peace and security of a family and more public education is needed to spell out the potential dangers and injustice this law poses to the rights of women and children in a Muslim family. While Malaysia can boast of many rights accorded to women, the 2005 amendments IFL signal a step back.