Eritrean women had the opportunity to make their voices heard and advocate for their rights and concerns through their participation in various consultation forums organized by the Ministry of Justice's Law Reform Committee, established in 1997. The result was a thorough reform of the Civil & Criminal Codes that repealed all prejudiced clauses. The reform process is now complete and the revised codes are ready to be officially enacted. The following were part of this revision:
Civil and Penal Codes Revised
§ Article 46 - marriage is based on the free consent of both partners and need no parental consent.
§ Article 48 - Women can enter marriages freely and are awarded the same rights as men
§ Article 49 - prohibits bride price and dowry.
§ Article 50 - kidnapping for marriage is illegal.
§ Legal age for marriage is raised to 18.
§ Articles 708-721 of the colonial Civil Code, on irregular unions, have been abolished because they do not provide any legal protection of women's rights upon marriage, divorce and succession
§ Rape is punishable under the law with a maximum sentence of imprisonment of up to 15 years. Pornography and other indecent and obscene exposures are also punishable under the penal code;
§ Article 635, which bluntly glorifies the marital power of the husband, was automatically repealed and was replaced by Article 45 of family law which recognizes the equal rights and status of both sexes and keeps the interest of the children and the mother.
Source of Information
Response of the Government of Eritrea to the questionnaire on violence against women, February 2009