Proposed legislation in Iraq would legalize child marriage
The Ja'fari bill would strip women of their rights. (AFP/File)
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A new draft law in Iraq threatens to strip women of basic rights and allow men to marry girls as young as nine, Reuters reports.
The law was recently approved by the Iraqi cabinet and will now go to parliament.
Numerous human rights activists are speaking out against the bill.
"We believe that this is a crime against humanity. It would deprive a girl of her right to live a normal childhood." said Hanaa Eduar, a prominent Iraqi human rights advocate.
Yanar Mohammed, the president of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, was quoted as saying: “The draft (law) is all about the sexual pleasures and rights of men. It is an abuse of children’s rights and their bodily integrity.”
The proposed law not only lowers the legal marrying age from 18 to nine, it also prohibits women from leaving their house without permission from their husband, demands women over 18 seek fatherly consent before marriage, and gives fathers sole custody of their daughters.
The bill is based on the Shiite Ja’fari school, named after an eighth century Shiite imam, and has therefore been deemed the Ja’fari Law.
Protestors took to the streets to voice their opposition to the bill on International Women’s Day. The UN has already asked for the withdrawal of the draft legislation.
Iraq’s current personal status law is seen as one of the most progressive in the region. Iraqi officials in support of the new bill say the current legislation goes against sharia religious law.