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Women lawyers demand early passage of Property Rights of Spouses Bill

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The African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), a women’s rights group, has demanded early passage of the Property Rights of Spouses Bill and the Intestate Succession Bill, currently before Parliament.

The two bills seek to ensure certainty in matters connected with the property rights of married couples, ensure fairness and clarify the law for effective implementation.

Ms Edna Kuma, Executive Director of AWLA, was addressing a press conference at the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Hall in Kumasi on Monday.

This was meant to serve as a pre-legislative advocacy activity.

Already, the Association acting together with Alumnae Incorporated (LAWA-Ghana) and sponsorship from the Legal Sector Reform Programme of the German Development Cooperation (GTZ), had undertaken extensive sensitization of the people in all the 10 regions on the two bills.

Ms Kuma noted that property rights of spouses in Ghana had been problematic for far too long and attributed this to the plural legal system and laws of marriage regulated by customary law, Islamic law and statute.

“Under each of these regimes, females are usually at the losing end when it comes to the sharing of properties acquired at the end of a marriage or when a spouse dies.”

The AWLA Executive Director said there should not be any shred of doubt that when the bills are passed into law this problem would be effectively addressed to ensure equity.

Ms Kuma said Ghana having signed up to international human rights aspiration like the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), is under obligation to make sure both men and women enjoyed the same rights and responsibilities within and after marriage.

The bills, again are a fulfillment of Article 22 Clause One of the 1992 Constitution, which states that “A spouse shall not be deprived of a reasonable provision out of the estate of a spouse whether or not the spouse died having made a will.”

Clause Two of the same article says “Parliament shall as soon as practicable after the coming into force of this Constitution, enact legislation regulating the property rights of spouses.”

Source: GNA

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