How effective is the legal protection of women’s rights in remote areas of Ethiopia ­– a country with one of the most comprehensive and equitable criminal codes, which condemn violence against women and has family laws very much up to international standards – when repressive cultural laws and practices operate from discriminatory principles and promote the subordination and exploitation of women? Searching for women’s opportunities for fair and reliable recourse to both traditional and formal systems of justice, the knowledge and the experiences of women within dual legal systems have been documented and are shared in this study. A resource for advocacy, the paper warns of defending the violation of human rights with their alleged cultural specificity.

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