Child marriage in Iraq: The Jaafari law

In a pathetic and shameful electoral maneuver, Iraqi parliament is most likely to pass a new rule that could allow children under nine years old to be legally married and the girls-wives forced to comply with marital demands; a disgusting trickery of the governing coalition to gain the support of Shia Muslims in the next election (April 30th).

As reported in the British newspaper The Telegraph “The legislation has been approved by the governing coalition in an effort to attract support from Shia Muslims in the April 30 vote”.

Nowadays Iraqi law sets the legal age for marriage at 18 years old, and for girls living in rural states as young as 15 but only with a guardian’s approval. Supporters of the Jaafari Personal Status law –named after a Shiite Muslim school of jurisprudence- gutsy stated, “It simply regulates practices already existing in day-to-day life”.

What can be done? How can it be stopped? Human Rights Watch has already issued a plea for the Iraqi government to stop the legislation, highlighting the violations that the soon to be law presents to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and The Convention on Rights of the Child, ratified by Iraq in 1986 and 1994 respectively. But is it enough?

Activists have campaigned in care2 petition site, to share the alert and to sign petitions in an attempt to stop this law, if interested click here to go to the site and support the petition started by Walk Free a no for profit focused on ending modern slavery.

( But my question remains… is it enough? Is it on time?

I know that inaction and apathy are worse than the indomitable effort of human rights activists fighting to defend and preserve our humanity against all odds, and at any cost… Let us do our share and support as many non-for-profits as possible to prevent child marriage and violence against women.

For all those interested on the topic, The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) has a broad collection of documents available for download to understand more about child marriage and what can be done to prevent and eliminate such practice.

Child Marriage

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