UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice
The UN Working Group on Discrimination against women in law and in practice has issued a call to Governments to repeal laws criminalizing adultery. The Working Group notes that the enforcement of such laws leads to discrimination and violence against women in law and in practice.
Criminal law definitions of adultery may be ostensibly gender neutral and prohibit adultery by both men and women. However, closer analysis reveals that the criminalization of adultery is both in concept and practice overwhelmingly directed against women and girls. Taking as a primary basis the previous work of the UN Secretary-General, OHCHR special rapporteurs and the treaty bodies, the Working-Group has analysed the concept of adultery, discriminatory legislation on adultery, discriminatory punishment for adultery and the way in which the classification of adultery as criminal provides impunity for violence against women.
See also “Joint Statement by the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice” of 18 October 2012, available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12672&LangID=E