Declaration of #UlamaForWomen

In the Name of God, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful,

On 27 September 2017, a group of religious and community leaders, legal practitioners, policy-makers, civil society organisations, and youth leaders convened at the #UlamaBersamaWanita Closed Consultation in Kuala Lumpur, concluding with a ground-breaking joint declaration to build collectively a strong alliance of #UlamaBersamaWanita, debunk marital rape at societal and systemic levels, and encourage dialogue among multi-stakeholders on women’s rights, gender parity, and women’s empowerment.

The participants affirmed their commitment to:

  1. Note and address the serious impacts of rising extremism on women’s rights, including forced marriage, deprivation to education, participation in public life, to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
  2. Uphold and empower women’s rights, gender parity, and women’s empowerment in Malaysia, in line with the international standards.
  3. Believe that Islam honours women and protects their rights from unjust and discriminatory laws, treatment, and religious interpretations.
  4. Call upon the politicians and policy-makers to take necessary steps based on law and politics in reviewing Section 375 of the Penal Code and/or amend any existing legislation to recognize marital rape as a crime, in support of women’s effective and equal access to justice.
  5. Adopt religious and cultural approaches or interpretations that counter violence against women and contain positive attitudes towards women particularly in marriage.
  6. Call upon the Malaysian government to implement its commitment to Goal 10 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by repealing existing discriminatory laws, policies against women and promote best practices against marital rape.
  7. Call upon religious and community leaders to confront and debunk all forms of religious bigotry, vilification, and denigration tantamount to the objectification of women in marriage.
  8. Call upon the civil society organizations and scholars to establish a broad movement of women’s rights, especially in Muslim-majority countries, to raise awareness as to their rights, and work together to ensure the success of these efforts.

Hereby, the alliance of #UlamaBersamaWanita agreed that this Declaration will be used for education and advocacy purposes in an effort to prevent extremism and promote women’s rights.