Bahrain is a signatory of the 1979 U.N. Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, more commonly referred to as CEDAW.
In 2002 Bahrain ratified the convention with “reservations”. This was mostly the nationality clause, Article 9, which holds state signatories responsible for granting women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain
their nationality as well as the right of women to pass their nationality on to their children and husbands. Bahrain has five reservations on the optional protocol of the CEDAW, which refer to articles 2, 9, 15, 16 and 29.
1) Article 2, paragraph two, states that a country should condemn all types of discrimination against women
2) Article 9, paragraph two, states that women should enjoy the same rights as men in terms of giving citizenship to their children
3) Article 15, paragraph four, states that women should be given the same rights as men in choosing their homes
4) Article 16 states the need to provide equal marital rights for females and males, particularly in marriage contracts, raising children and custody
5) Article 29, paragraph one, and relates to disputes between two state parties.
Lifting these reservations could mean that Bahrain would finally introduce a family law, which would specify in writing how family issues such as divorces and child custody cases are to be resolved. Bahrain’s reservations to CEDAW must be withdrawn.