Target: Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki
Goal: Urge Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to oppose Iraq’s child marriage bill
A newly proposed child-marriage bill in Iraq constitutes a big step backwards for women’s rights. The bill does not set a minimum age for marriage; it also makes the father the only parent with the right to accept or decline marriage proposals. If this bill were to become a law, Iraqi girls as young as the age of nine could be married, at their fathers behest, to men who are outrageously older than they are.
This proposed measure also restricts the rights of many Iraqi women and girls; it prohibits women leaving their homes without permission from their husbands. The bill also states that husbands may have sex with their wives regardless of consent. This bill shamelessly legalizes rape in marriages. Married underaged girls will suffer both physical and psychological trauma if this bill is ratified.
Despite the oppositions of many activists groups, the draft measure of this bill was approved in February 2014. It should be a priority to ensure that this bill is rejected before it can be ratified by parliament. Sign this petition and oppose this backwards child marriage bill.
Dear Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki,
It has come to my attention that a draft measure on child marriages was recently approved in your country. The bill will be a huge step backwards for women’s rights in Iraq. Girls as young as the age of nine, who have barely reached puberty, will have to be married to men who are outrageously older than they are, at their fathers behest. This bill gives all the rights of accepting or declining marriage proposals to the father, so the girls do not have any choice in their future at all.
Women’s right will be further restricted since the proposed measure also states that wives shall not be able to leave their homes without the permission of their husbands. They could be confined in their homes like a prison cell. Wives will also be subjected to rape within their marriage because the bill also states that husbands may have sex with their wives regardless of consent. The fact that this bill legalizes rape is sickening.
I insist that you reconsider and reject this bill before it can be ratified. If it were to become ratified, it would be severely detrimental to the rights of women in your country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: wishmerhill via Flickr