“According to our customs and traditions, women have no right to inherit, because they are not responsible for the expenses of the house and the children, even their own allowance. So, why do they inherit?”
Ms. Wadha (pseudonym) from the western countryside of Deir Ezzor, 37 years old married with children, wonders about reasons why families in Deir Ezzor inherit women. From her point of view, inheritance has its causes and conditions and are not available in women, so not having a share of the inheritance is normal. Ms. Wadha adds:
“My parents do not believe in women’s inheritance. We have been raised that women are not inherited and are not even entitled to intervene in this matter”
According to her point of view, which she explained to the researcher of Justice for Life, her husband will inherit from his family as well as her brother, and if she inherits, her share of the estate will go to her husband or children, i.e. she will not enjoy inheritance, and therefore her brother will inherit better than her, so she does not support the woman’s inheritance.
Women’s inheritance is one of the issues that has long been the subject of debate across Syria, as prevailing customs and traditions prevent her from being inherited despite the legislations. This has been confirmed by Ms. Wadha, whose story shows the impact of local customs, which can be considered the primary driver if it is not the only one in depriving women of their right to inheritance, and the decision is made in many cases without consulting the woman with the right.
Inheritance is defined as the money, in-kind or financial belongings left by the deceased. Whereas, legally, there is no clear definition of inheritance in the Syrian personal status law, but some have defined it as “the set of legal rules and positive laws, by which those entitled to the inheritance are distinguished and are judged, by the amount and share of each heir.”
In previous months, Justice for Life has highlighted a number of abuses against women in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, including inheritance, which is sensitive issue that civil society organizations and local media have put again on the table.