- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2014

The local government in a majority Kurdish area of Syria has passed a decree granting equal rights to women, as the Kurds continue to fight an intense battle against Islamic State militants that oppose such freedoms.

Last year, Syria’s Kurds created autonomous governments in the three regions where they are a majority, establishing self-proclaimed rule that Damascus does not recognize, the Agence France-Presse reported.

The decree, published Wednesday on the local government’s official Facebook page, reportedly states that women and men should enjoy “equality … in all walks of public and private life.”

The decree stipulates that women have the right to equal labor rights, including pay, and says women must get paid maternity leave for their first three children, AFP reported.

It also bans “honor killings” and “violence and discrimination” against women, and states that women cannot be married off without their consent, AFP reported.

The Britain-based Observatory said the decree is an “affront to laws being passed by the Islamic State, which are highly discriminatory against women.”

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP: “While fighting the jihadists, the Kurds also want to send a message to the international community, to say that they want to espouse a culture of democracy and civil rights.”

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