June 10, 2024Supporting International Advocacy to Advance the Rights of Women

The Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World submits joint report on gender-based violence and legal discrimination in Kuwait.

The Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World, jointly with Musawah and the Abolish Article 153 campaign, submitted a shadow report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee), advocating for effective legal reforms to prevent violence against women in Kuwait and to end gender-based discrimination in Kuwait’s personal status and nationality laws.

The report was discussed at the CEDAW Committee’s 88th Session in May 2024, as part of its constructive dialogue with the Government of Kuwait. Member States to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) engage in regular constructive dialogues with the CEDAW Committee of independent international experts in order to evaluate and facilitate the implementation of their obligations under the Convention.

The report examines Kuwait legal framework and analyzes key laws and policies that enforce de jure and de facto discrimination against women in five priority areas: gender-based violence, women’s legal capacity, early and child marriage, divorce and custody rights, and nationality rights. It discusses positive legal reforms introduced in Kuwait since its last constructive dialogue with the CEDAW Committee in 2017, including the enactment of the 2020 Domestic Violence Law, and analyzes gaps in legal protection and challenges of effective enforcement. The report further highlights persisting discriminatory provisions in Kuwait’s Penal Code, which continue to excuse violence against women and stipulate lenient penalties for so-called “honor crimes,” and offers recommendation to protect women’s rights in the public and private spheres.

Program Executive Director Salma Waheedi, an expert on gender and family law in the Middle East and North Africa, wrote the report in close consultation with advocates in Abolish Article 153. This report is the latest in a series of ongoing collaborations between the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School, Musawah, and women’s rights advocates across Muslim majority and minority countries.

Click here to read the full report.