The Jaafari Personal Status Law

Another one it would be good to sign.

Tell Iraq: Don’t Legalize Forced Child Marriage

Any minute now, the Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalize forced child marriage.

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;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal; 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.

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 marriage.

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”.

We may not have much time to stop Iraq from legalizing forced child marriage and a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery for girls and women. Call on the the Iraqi Council of Representatives to vote “no” to the Jaafari Personal Status Law today.

In partnership with the Arab Human Rights Academy (AHRA).

It’s not a recipe for slavery, it is slavery.


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    “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 marriage.”

    I believe this was one of Saddam Hussein’s government’s legacies. When he ruled Iraq, women had more rights and freedoms than in any other MidEast nation where Muslims are a majority. NOW look what’s happening. Yep, the US sure did help the Iraqi people. Yep yep.

    Here are before and after US invasion pics from Iraq, focusing on women:

  2. Blanche Quizno says

    What seems to invariably happen is that our government decides to take out a MidEastern government, “for their own good,” and then, after we’ve destroyed their infrastructure and economies and lives (just forget about Marshall Plan-style programs! These are BROWN people we’re talking about!!), when “democracy” has been installed, the very first election invariably elects a Muslim theocracy. Exactly what we DON’T want. So then we force them to throw out the election and start over – and on and on it goes.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think that perhaps this is the end result the US government is actually planning for… After all, it’s just THAT predictable.

  3. Gordon Willis says

    Thanks for doing this, Ophelia. I note that the BBC don’t have anything to say about this, and don’t recognise anything one inputs to their search-box in relation to this matter. It’s frightening. Other websites can’t offer much any later than March. Does no one care about girls? I have some really brilliant girl students. What kind of world are they going to find themselves in when half the world regards them as slaves, and the creeping poison permeates even Europe?

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