Adultery is not a crime: UN

2012-10-18 19:11

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Geneva - Adultery should not be punished as a crime, the UN's human rights body said on Thursday, insisting that women's rights especially are violated when countries allow punishments ranging from fines to death for infidelity.

"Adultery must not be classified as a criminal offence at all," said Kamala Chandrakirana, who heads the UN expert body charged with identifying ways to eliminate laws that discriminate against women.

"The criminalisation of sexual relations between consenting adults is a violation of their right to privacy," she said in a statement, insisting adultery "must not be punishable by fine, imprisonment, flogging, or death by stoning or hanging".

Women are especially impacted by laws criminalising marital infidelity, and often receive harsher punishments than men, while in some countries their testimony carries only half the weight of a man's, the statement said.

Chandrakirana called on "all governments which retain criminalisation of adultery" and which allow punishments, including flogging and death, "to repeal any such provisions".

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