17 September 2013

BOOK: Human Rights under State-enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt and India

Cambridge University Press (CUP) has published Yüksel Sezgin’s Human Rights under State-enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt and India. In a nutshell, the book looks at impacts of state-enforced (pluri-legal) religious family laws on human/women’s rights in Israel, Egypt and India, and identifies resistance strategies successfully mobilized by rights activists in these jurisdictions:

About one-third of the world's population currently lives under pluri-legal systems where governments hold individuals subject to the purview of ethno-religious rather than national norms in respect to family law. How does the state-enforcement of these religious family laws impact fundamental rights and liberties? What resistance strategies do people employ in order to overcome the disabilities and limitations these religious laws impose upon their rights? Based on archival research, court observations and interviews with individuals from three countries, Yüksel Sezgin shows that governments have often intervened in order to impress a particular image of subjectivity upon a society, while people have constantly challenged the interpretive monopoly of courts and state-sanctioned religious institutions, re-negotiated their rights and duties under the law, and changed the system from within. He also identifies key lessons and best practices for the integration of universal human rights principles into religious legal systems.

The Table of Contents includes:

1. Introduction
2. Personal status, nation-building, and the postcolonial state
3. The impact of state-enforced personal status laws on human rights
4. A fragmented confessional system: state-enforced religious family laws and human rights in Israel
5. A unified confessional system: state-enforced religious family laws and human rights in Egypt
6. A unified semi-confessional system: state-enforced religious family laws and human rights in India
7. Conclusion: upholding human rights under religious legal systems.

Note that there is a discount code (SEZGIN13) if you order the book from CUP.


All royalties are donated to the UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.

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