9 years old and about to marry

by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has been blessed with a daughter. She makes a cyclone of a mess, keeps losing her shoes, avoids homework if possible, keeps falling out of trees, has never hung up a towel in her life, doesn’t like shrimps or green things in my pasta sauces and steals my Snickers bars. She has her faults but so do I. Overall I must say that she is an absolute joy. The idea of her getting married is something I haven’t really confronted or considered. She’s ten years old.

In Iraq she might already be married if the law gets changed. And last year she could have already obtained her first divorce (that law is already in place). What the heck is wrong with that country?

Read on.

This in from Debra.

From: Debra Rosen, Walk Free [mailto:debra@walkfree.org]
Subject: 9 years old and about to marry

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hugh,

We’ve just learned that any minute now, the Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalise Forced Child Marriage1.

The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:

  • There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law provides policies for divorcing a 9-year-old girl;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal on her behalf; and
  • The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.

It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.

The law was sent to the Council of Representatives yesterday, and the vote could happen any time now. To prevent Iraq’s girls from becoming vulnerable to forced child marriage it is crucial that we act now.

Tell Iraq’s Council of Representatives not to legalise Forced Child Marriage.

Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East — setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage2.

Brave Iraqi women have been fighting against removing the minimum age for marriage, for their sake and for the sake of their daughters. Last month on International Women’s Day, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad protesting the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the “Day of Mourning”3.

Iraqi Sunni and Shia religious leaders have criticised the Jaafari Personal Status law as discriminatory and a violation of religious texts3, and Safia al-Suhail, a female Member of Parliament, has called it a “disaster” showing that Iraq is “going backwards”4.

We may not have much time to stop Iraq from legalising Forced Child Marriage and a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery for girls and women. Will you help?

Urge the Council of Representatives to say “no” to legalising Forced Child Marriage.

Stand with the women and girls of Iraq — please forward this email to as many as your friends as possible, and ask them to contact the Iraqi Council of Representatives today.

In solidarity,

Debra, Sarah, Andrew, Kate, Kamini & the Walk Free Team

P.S. On Twitter? Follow us

1 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10753645/Iraq-ready-to-legalise-childhood-marriage.html
2 http://apps.americanbar.org/rol/publications/iraq_personal_status_law_1959_english_translation.pdf
3 http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/11/iraq-don-t-legalize-marriage-9-year-olds
4 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/20/iraq-child-marriage-bill-human-rights

Walk Free is a movement of people everywhere, fighting to end one of the world’s greatest evils: Modern slavery.

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