Don’t Legalize Child Marriage

Target: President Jalal Talabani

Goal: Do not limit women’s rights and legalize child marriage

The Iraqi government must immediately withdraw the Personal Status Law from consideration. The nickname of the Personal Status Law is the Jaafari Law, as it is based on the teachings of the Jaafari school of Shia religious jurisprudence. This draft law is aimed at limiting women’s rights to inheritance, divorce, and would allow men to take multiple wives and for young girls to be married starting at the age of nine. Allowing this law to take effect should bring international condemnation and sanctions.

The Jaafari law is designed to cover the Shia citizens and residents of Iraq, a large majority of the 36 million people in Iraq. The law, in addition to legalizing child marriage, prohibits men from marrying outside their religion, legalizes marital rape, and prevents women from leaving the house without the permission of her husband. The Jaafari law also grants custody of children to the father automatically in cases of divorce. This law will undoubtedly lead to more laws aimed at discriminating against specific groups.

Citizens in Iraq who stand opposed to the bill will have to hope that the law is struck down before it passes through both levels of parliament and is signed into law. Unfortunately, lawmakers do not seem interested in vetoing the bill. Sign this petition and demand that the government in Iraq follow its international commitments and stand up for the human rights of all its citizens.


Dear President Jalal Talabani,

The recent submission of the Personal Status Law, also known as the Jaafari Law, is an affront against the human rights of women and girls in your country. By allowing for this bill to pass, your government will be supporting marital rape and the marriage of girls as young as nine. This goes against many international human rights treaties to which your government is a party.

By allowing the Jaafari Law to pass, the international community will understand your approach to human rights. And they will have no action but to take drastic measures against your country in the form of sanctions. I ask that you do all that you can to prevent this, so that your people and country may continue to prosper.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: FunkMunk via Wikipedia Commons

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