Algeria: A Call to Campaign “The Family Law, 20 years barakat*”

Association '20 ans barakat'
It will soon be 20 years that the Family law has been enforced in Algeria.
This law concerning personal status has, since 1984, institutionalised the inferiority of one half of society with regard to the other.
The equality between men and women is recognized by Article 29 of the Algerian Constitution yet the Family Law creates as second level of citizenship a sub-citizenship of women which is expressed, among others, by:

the obligation of all women to be under guardianship outside of marriage (art.11);

that women have to obey their husbands as head of the family (art.39);

divorce at the simple desire of the husband which is the same as repudiation (art.48);

the automatic attribution of the house to the father if the parents should divorce (art.52);

the impossibility for a woman to ask for divorce except in extreme circumstances (art.53);

parental authority strictly invested in the father and refused to the mother (art.87);

the impossibility for a female Muslim to marry a male non-Muslim (art.31);

the recognition of polygamy (art.8);

and the inequality of inheritance between men and women (art.126 to 183).

This law adds to the other unequal weapons in the arsenal of Algerian laws among which we find the Law of Nationality by which an Algerian woman may not pass on her nationality to her children; this may only happen through the male lineage.

This legislative web interwoven with injustices has allowed and supported the weakening of society as a whole and contributed to its fragmentation. The group massacres, the kidnappings and sexual enslavement to which thousands of women have been subjected for a dozen years, the mass rapes such as at Hassi Messaoud in July 2001, by citizens above all suspicion and all the daily extortions against the women of Algeria have nourished this law which officially places women at the mercy of men.

We appeal to you to participate in the campaign “The Family Law, 20 Years Barakat*”. This campaign is a part of the struggle which started as one of the first projects proposed to the National Assembly and which is still topical. Repealing this law is still a strong demand in Algeria. In fact, even in the worst years of the terror, not one 8th of March has passed without this being the demand of thousands of Algerian women.

The idea is to create a permanent ground swell which, of course, will be continued by different groups in Algeria but also in every country where this struggle finds an echo. The campaign, starting in 2003 and continuing in 2004 could take different forms but the goal remains the repeal of the Family Law.


Association Tharwa Fadhma N’soumer
Association SOS Femmes en détresse
Association Indépendante pour le Triomphe des Droits des Femmes
Association pour la Défense et la Promotion des Droits des Femmes
Association Vie
Association 20ans

*barakat = It’s Enough

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