By Celine Castronuovo
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced changes to its Islamic personal laws, now allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and imposing harsher punishments for “honor killings.”
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on the changes Saturday, with the UAE state-run news agency WAM saying that the updates are intended to improve the country’s economic and social standing and “consolidate the UAE’s principles of tolerance.”
The UAE government outlined the changes in greater detail in state-linked newspaper The National, which noted that the altered laws would take effect immediately, according to the AP.
According to Reuters, thousands of women and girls die each year across the Middle East and South Asia in “honor killings,” resulting from family members perceiving a damage to a woman’s honor for actions such as eloping or mingling with men.
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