Viewing cable 05MUSCAT836
Title: OMAN RATIFIES WOMEN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT8362005-05-22 13:44:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MUSCAT 000836 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM KWMN SOCI MU
SUBJECT: OMAN RATIFIES WOMEN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION 
 
REF: MUSCAT 761 
 
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Summary 
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¶1. (SBU) A royal decree May 7 ratified Oman's joining the UN 
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination 
Against Women (CEDAW), but with four reservations on 
Convention articles deemed potentially contrary to Omani 
legislation, and a catch-all reservation against anything 
that might contravene Sharia law.  Oman reserves the right to 
determine nationality based solely on the father's 
citizenship, to restrict freedom of movement and residency as 
it deems necessary, to prohibit adoption, and to refrain from 
dispute arbitration in the International Court of Justice. 
Curiously, Omani women already enjoy freedom of movement and 
residency.  The UK Mission in New York reportedly plans to 
lodge an objection to the blanket reservation on Sharia.  End 
summary. 
 
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CEDAW Ratified with Several Reservations 
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¶2. (SBU) The Omani government announced May 7 that Sultan 
Qaboos issued a royal decree ratifying Oman's joining the 
1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of 
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  Per reftel, however, 
Oman's ratification included four broad reservations intended 
to protect the Sultanate from any provision of the agreement 
it deems "not in accordance with Islamic Sharia or other 
legislation applied in the Sultanate."  These reservations 
were published in the government's Official Gazette on May 
¶16.  According to the UK Embassy, the British will lodge a 
formal objection to the blanket reservation on Sharia grounds 
in New York, as they have in cases involving similar 
reservations by other countries.  The UK Embassy is not 
certain, however, whether Britain will challenge any of the 
other Omani reservations, summarized below. 
 
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Nationality 
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¶3. (U) Article 9, paragraph 2:  "States Parties shall grant 
women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality 
of their children."  This text contradicts Oman's Basic Law 
that states that nationality can only be passed via the 
father.  If an Omani woman marries a non-national, her 
children will not be granted Omani citizenship. 
 
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Freedom of Movement 
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¶4. (U) Article 15, paragraph 4:  "States Parties shall accord 
to men and women the same rights with regard to the law 
relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose 
their residence and domicile."  Although the Omani government 
issued a reservation on this Article, there currently is no 
law restricting freedom of movement in Oman.  Omani men and 
women enjoy equal rights with regards to freedom of movement 
and may travel abroad or choose their residence without 
permission. 
 
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Adoption 
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¶5. (U) Article 16, paragraphs A, C, and F:  "Men and women 
shall have the same right to enter into marriage; the same 
rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its 
dissolution; and the same rights and responsibilities with 
regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship and adoption of 
children, or similar institutions where these concepts exist 
in national legislation."  Adoption is forbidden in Oman's 
interpretation of Islam and is illegal in the Sultanate. 
 
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Arbitration 
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¶6. (U) Article 29, paragraph A: "The Sultanate is not bound 
by the obligations in paragraph A of Article 29, which 
relates to arbitration and the need to refer a dispute 
between two countries or more to the International Court of 
Justice if it is not settled through negotiations." 
 
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Comment 
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¶7. (SBU) These four reservations are very similar to those 
attached to its 1996 ratification of the Convention on the 
Rights of the Child (CRC), and perhaps have not been updated 
since that time.  They may be intended to assure Omani 
citizens as well as the international community that the 
government is preserving traditional values and principles of 
Sharia law.  Despite the four reservations, the Ministry of 
Social Development (MOSD) has previously indicated that other 
portions of the Convention will necessitate changes to Omani 
law and regulations, suggesting that Oman is willing (at 
least in some areas) to adapt to the international standards 
reflected in the CEDAW. 
BALTIMORE