Tuesday 29 October 2013, 12.00-14.00
Annexe (Roodestraat 14, Antwerp)
Dr. Waheeda Amien, University of Cape Town, Zuid-Afrika.
“ Legal pluralism: legal engagements with religious and customary personal laws. South Africa as an example“
In South Africa, legal pluralism manifests, among others, within the domain of personal laws. A medley of religious, customary and civil personal laws function simultaneously; some with state recognition, others without. In this presentation, I describe the different ways in which the law engages with religious and customary personal laws in South Africa. In particular, I focus on the efforts of the judiciary and legislature in affording recognition to religious and customary personal laws. I demonstrate that the approaches by the legislature and judiciary indicate a tendency to assimilate, accommodate and/or integrate religious and customary personal laws. In doing so, I refer to an assortment of personal law legislation as well as various case law that impact on African customary, Hindu, and Muslim personal laws.
I highlight the human rights challenges, especially to gender equality and freedom of religion, that are presented by the provision of state recognition to- and the lack of state recognition of religious and customary personal laws. Finally, I offer a Gender-Nuanced Integration (‘GNI’) approach, for the official recognition of customary and religious personal laws in a way that affords maximum protection to gender equality.
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