Target: Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari
Goal: Stop legislators from enacting an oppressive child marriage law
A disturbing new law is being considered in Iraq that would enforce marriage on children as young as 9. This law would mean abuse and even fewer rights for girls in Iraq. Legislators in Iraq must be made aware that this proposal would be an extreme violation of children’s rights and a massive step backward for the country.
The current legal age to marry is 18, or 15 with parental consent. The bill being proposed does not set a minimum age for marriage, but only mentions divorce requirements for girls at age 9. Fathers would have authority to accept or decline marriage proposals for their daughters.
Married women would have no rights in regards to sexual consent and would be forbidden to leave the house. Their rights would also be limited in regards to divorce and child custody. Qais Raheem, a Shiite government employee spoke out against the bill saying, “This law legalizes rape and we should all reject it.”
Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari told reporters that the legislation would help women and children by preventing child marriage outside of the legal system. Sign this petition telling Iraqi legislators that allowing child marriage and promoting female slavery does not protect women and children.
Dear Hassan al-Shimmari,
By proposing this legislation, Iraqi lawmakers must acknowledge that they are directly advocating for the legalization of child abuse and marital rape. Despite explanations given by those in favor of the bill, there is no justification for promoting female enslavement and child abuse. Lawmakers must stop distorting religious beliefs and practices to support their agenda of oppression.
Children at the age of 9 cannot be expected to function as adults or wives. This bill puts them at risk of being abuse, raped, and forced to bear children while they are still children themselves. It is dangerous to restrict a young girl to a house where she cannot leave to seek medical attention or other necessary things for herself or her family. Furthermore, a father should not be legally permitted to accept proposals for a young daughter because Iraqi children are not commodities.
While in the media you have painted this proposal as fair, its objectives show political and religious oppression in its most obvious form. Something must be done in Iraq so that legislators begin to understand the devastation that they will cause with such laws as this one. Please reject this offensive, dangerous, and thoughtless proposal.
[Your name here]
Photo credit: Jeremy L. Wood via Wikimedia