Are polygamous marriages to be considered a human rights violation or a human rights realization in the contexts of Sweden and Tanzania?
Abstract: This two-case study “Are polygamous marriages to be considered a human rights violation or a human rights realization in the contexts of Sweden and Tanzania?” focuses on whether polygamous marriages can be considered a human rights violation in line with Universalism and the violation of women’s rights, or a human rights realization in line with Cultural Relativism and cultural and religious rights, in the contexts of Sweden and Tanzania. The research consists of two components. The first is a desk review including a summative content analyses of State Reports, Concluding Observations and Shadow Reports of the latest sessions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1976) for both countries to represent stake holders of women’s rights, cultural rights and religious rights. The second part of the research consists of a directed content analysis of four interviews conducted with one person working with women’s rights and one person working with cultural/religious rights in both countries. The results of the desk review show strong indications of polygamy violating women’s rights in Tanzania, and are not mentioned in relation to cultural or religious rights for any of the two countries’ reports. The results from the analyses of the interviews show the same, although with mixed components of cultural relativistic views. The conclusion focuses on the main result being that polygamous marriages are in violation of women’s rights suggesting a recommendation that polygamous marriages should not be considered a human right as long as it puts women’s universal human rights at risk.
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