By Jonathan Goetz
Photo: Iraqi Democratic Current
November 16, 2017 (El Cajon) - A proposal that would reduce a girl’s marriageable age to puberty, right to decline sex to a husband, eliminate inheritance rights and child custody decisions for women passed its first reading in the Iraqi Parliament on October 30. The bill still requires a second reading to become law.
In response, the Iraqi Democratic Current is organizing a protest at Prescott Promenade Park at 201 E. Main Street in El Cajon Friday, November 17 at 4pm.
“The newly proposed law encourages the marriage of minors and reminds us most of the way that the Islamic State behaved with young girls, how the organization forced them to marry group members when they were in control in Mosul and Raqqa,” said Iraqi member of Parliament Rizan al-Sheik Daleer.
The changes are to Law Number 188 of 1959 the Iraqi Women Personal Status Law, and replace civil courts with sectarian Sunni or Shiite courts.
“The organization of these issues should be the responsibility of the courts and not the executive branch of Sunni or Shiite religious orders,” Iraqi member of Parliament Shuruq al-Abaji told NIQASH.
Al-Abaji believes that the revision to the personal status law faces several obstacles besides simply parliamentary approval. First, Article 41 of the Iraqi Constitution, which allows Iraqis to select their own personal status, would have to be changed. Second, it violates the separation of powers and human rights and international laws on women’s rights.
“We call on everyone to stand next Friday in protest against the proposed amendments that the backward minds intend to fulfill to satisfy their sick desires in raping children, depriving women of custody of their children and their right to inheritance and return them to the time of backwardness and servitude,” said Nital Meshkoor, of the Iraqi Women’s League and Iraqi Democratic Current.