Urgent Alert: Iraqi girls in danger of being married off at 9 years old!
We urgently need your help! A new bill that would allow girls as young as nine to be married off in Iraq is being considered by its Parliament.
Approximately 1 in 5 girls are already married off as children every year in Iraq -- potentially setting them up for early pregnancy, domestic violence, poverty and limited education and career opportunities. Introduced 1 November 2017, the new bill gives religious sects the power to make decisions on women’s and girls’ rights according to their own beliefs through amendments to the Personal Status Law No. 188 of 1959. Some of these sects would support lowering the age of marriage to nine based on their interpretations of the Quran and their belief that puberty means a girl can be married off.
“I think we will see an explosion of child marriage in Iraq if it’s passed. It’s not logical, we’re in 2017 and we’re still going backwards on women’s rights!” - Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Equality Now
Currently, the legal marriage age for Iraqi men and women is 18 years old, with some exceptions for 15-18 year olds. This new bill contradicts Iraq’s Constitution, international law and target 5.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but it’s already been signed by 40 Iraqi Parliament members and approved in principle. A full vote on the bill is not yet on the Parliament’s agenda, but it could happen any day.
TAKE ACTION! Women and human rights organizations, including Baghdad Women Association and Iraqi Women League, have been protesting the outrageous proposal and are asking for your help. Please call on the Iraqi Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House to make sure that it does not go to a vote.