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Iraq: Amending the discriminatory personal status law


Following the Iraqi Parliament’s preliminary vote last November on a draft amendment to the personal status law and the angry feminist reactions it provoked (:c.f, MP for Muttahidoon bloc, Jamila Obeidi, submitted a new amendment sanctioning a man to have another wife, who is a widow, without the approval of his first wife, while noting that Article 3 of the present personal status law prohibits a man from marrying another woman without the official consent of his first wife. The law also criminalizes the marriage of minors granting men and women close to equal rights on the level of separation. On the subject, Al Hayat newspaper described the matter today as a ‘heavy joke’. An anonymous MP all of a sudden is all over the screens defending her bill and alleging that it cuts the growing number of widows and divorcees in the regions recently liberated from ISIS, Al Hayat wrote. But, what started as a joke, the newspaper went on to say, has become reality after the Iraqi House Speaker Salim Jabouri referred the law for voting. In conclusion, Al Hayat made a point that the ‘the marriage of widows and divorcees’ draft legislation cannot in fact be passed, pointing out that the mere inclusion of the draft on the Parliament’s agenda is a violation of the constitution itself, not for its detrimental effect on the human dignity of Iraqi women, but also because of the ‘associated costs’ it incurs on the State budget. Hence, it should be treated and formulated within the structure and context of the budget before it is submitted to the Parliament for adoption. (Al Hayat, January 11, 2018)


Previous related news:
Conservative amendments of Iraqi personal status law draw feminist criticisms
UN urges Iraq to safeguard women’s rights
The feminization of Iraq through renaming public spaces

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