Any minute now, the Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalise forced child marriage. (1)
The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:
- There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law provides policies for divorcing a 9 year old;
- A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal; and
- The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.
It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.
Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East -- setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage. (2)
Brave Iraqi women have been fighting against removing the minimum age for marriage -- for their sake and for the sake of their daughters. Last month on International Women’s Day, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad protesting the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the “Day of Mourning”. (3)
We may not have much time to stop Iraq from legalising forced child marriage and a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery for girls and women. Will you help?
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