Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Iraqi Kurdistan: A man will not be able to marry more than one woman
Tuesday, 11 November 2008, 02:42 EST
Iraqi Kurdistan: one man, one wife

Iraqi Kurdistan: A man will not be able to marry more than one woman.parliment_of_kurdistan_polygami.jpg

The Kurdish parliament in northern Iraq recently approved a new law, according to which a man will not be able to marry more than one woman, the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.

The parliament, which enjoys legislative independence from the federal Iraqi parliament in Baghdad, decided on the legislation after consultation with the Women and Children Committee (WCC) in Kurdistan.

The Kurds, who are Muslims, have so far adhered to Islamic law, which permits a man to marry up to four wives.

Following approval of the new law, the Iraqi Women's Network (IWN) asked the federal Iraqi parliament to follow suit.

The IWN, an umbrella organization of seven women's rights institutions, wrote to the parliament, asking to put an end to "the suffering of Iraqi women, who fall victim to second and third marriages."

"We have to admit that the regional [Kurdish] parliament is much more progressive and experienced than the Iraqi [federal] parliament," IWN's chairwoman Liza Nisan told A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Nisan explained that the notion of limiting a man to one marriage was bound to face opposition from both men and women, who adhere to a traditional way of life.

Meanwhile, a Shari'a Court in Iraq's neighbor to the south, Saudi Arabia, is presently looking into a case of child marriage.

A Saudi mother has filed a complaint against her ex-husband for marrying off their 12-year-old daughter without her knowledge, the Saudi daily Arab News revealed.

The woman, who has the custody of her daughter, claimed that her child was too young to get married and that the father did not inform her of his plans to marry off the girl.

There is no age limit for marriage in Saudi Arabia

Hawler Globe!

repeal of polygamous marriages and all other discriminatory laws against women in Kurdistan.

To the Kurdish Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government

We demand the repeal of polygamous marriages and all other discriminatory laws against women in Kurdistan.

On October 27, 2008, legislation allowing polygamous marriages was passed in a parliamentary session in Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan. This legislation is part of a constitutional draft proposing to replace the old family status law, in use since 1958. It was changed partially, under Saddam Hussein, to subjugate women’s rights further.

After the fall of Saddam’s regime in 2003, a new constitution was written and passed in Iraq. This constitution was solely based on Islamic Sharia Law and openly stated its support for gender apartheid against women. We clearly see that the proposed constitution for the Kurdish region is no better than the Iraqi one. In fact, it is just a smaller version.

The current family status law was reactionary enough—being purely based on discrimination against women and their treatment in society as second class citizens—but now the Kurdish Regional Government wants to change it further, and not for the better.

Women in Kurdistan have been subjected to all kinds of violence and discrimination throughout their history. Under Saddam’s regime, they endured all kinds of hardship, torture and abuse. They have fared no better under the current Kurdish rule. “Honour killings”, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, bullying women to commit suicide and the denial of civil and individual rights have been the main characteristics for almost the past two decades.

The approval of this current legislation will assist in the oppression of women and lead to a huge increase in violence against women. This is a historical mistake. We hold the Kurdish parliament and its government responsible for the violations of women’s rights in this region, due to these discriminatory laws.

Therefore, we call upon every concerned organisation and individual to support us in this campaign to repeal this law. We also call for unconditional equal rights, freedom and equality for women in Kurdistan to be enshrined in law.

Yours Truly,

Yanar Mohammed: President of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

Houzan Mahmoud: representative abroad of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-UK

Michael Eisenscher: National coordinator of US Labour against the war

Diana Nammi: Director of Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

Maria Hagberg: President of Network against honour crimes -Sweden

Rega Svensson: Head of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-Sweden

Professor Fabienne Charlotte Orazie Vallino: Vietterbo University-Italy

Joe Tougas: Journalist, Human Rights Activist -USA

Jennifer Kemp: OWFI board member in USA

Daniel W. Smith: Journalist—Baghdad, Iraq/New Haven, Connecticut-USA

Maryam Namazie: Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran

Joanne Payton: International Campaign against Honour Killings

Thomas Unterrainer: Nottingham

Sam Azad: Socialist campaigner

Anne R. Grady, Massachusetts, USA

Ingrid Ternert: Representative of the Peace movement in Gutenberg

Ruth Appleton Co-ordinator Santé Refugee Mental Health Access Project

Anna-Lisa: Björneberg- Wilpf Sweden

Aase Fosshaug: Sweden

Heidi Maugué-Aebi: Women for peace Switzerland

Agnes Hohl: Women for peace Switzerland

Annamaria Traber: Women for peace Switzerland

Beatrice Fankhauser: Women for peace Switzerland

Lini Culetto: Women for peace Switzerland

For more information or to add your name to this statement please contact: Tel: +447534264481

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