Canada - Polygyny & Canada's Obligations Under International Rights Law

Rebecca Cook
Publication Date: 
September, 2006

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"In analyzing Canada's commitments under international human rights law, this report will consider Canada's obligations to respect freedom of religion as well as guarantee equality between men and women. Although polygyny, as practised in Canada and elsewhere, engages freedom of religious arguments, it is important to note the distinction at law between religious belief and religous practice...

Amidst this international and domestic law commitment to gender equality, this report will outline how the practice of polygyny violates women's rights to equality within marriage and the family, amongst other rights, using sources of international law identified in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice as a guiding framework...

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Department of Justice Canada

Symbol of the Government of Canada
Polygyny and Canada's Obligations Under International Human Rights Law

September 2006

Prepared by:
Rebecca J. Cook, M.P.A., J.D., J.S.D., F.R.S.C.
Faculty Chair in International Human Rights
Co-Director, International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme

Lisa M. Kelly, B.A., J.D. candidate
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Presented to:
Family, Children and Youth Section
Department of Justice Canada

The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Justice Canada.

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