The brilliant legislators in Iraq are considering a new law with regard to marriages. The new law would allow girls as young as nine years of age to be married. It would also place requirements on wives to submit to sex on demand by their husbands. These laws have been presented to cover the Shia portion of Iraq’s society. Hana Adwar, who is a well known Iraqi human rights activist, has recently stated, “That law represents a crime against humanity and childhood.”
This new law would be a significant modification of the current law concerning marriages in Iraq. The current legal age for marriage, without parental approval, is 18 in Iraq. However, girls aged 15 can be married with parents’ approval.
The proposed new law is known as the Jaafari Personal Status Law. This statute was presented by the Justice Minister in Iraq last year to the Cabinet. The Cabinet has recently approved this statute. This is in spite of opposition from human rights groups.
This new law, among other things, discusses the rules for divorces for girls who are nine years of age. It takes the position that all girls reach puberty at that age, therefore they can get married and divorced.
Under this new law, fathers determine who their daughters will marry. Presently about a quarter of all marriages in Iraq involve children under age 18. Underage marriages are more prevalent in the rural areas of Iraq than in the cities.
Sex Without Consent
One of the significant aspects of this new Iraqi marriage law allows husbands to have sex with their wives anytime they want even when the wives don’t consent. This new statute would stop women from leaving their husband’s household without their husband’s permission. The statute also would allow men to have multiple wives.
Iraq is looking into passing a child marriage law that would send women’s rights and children’s rights back to the Middle Ages.
Elliot S. Schlissel has been practicing matrimonial and family law throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years. Elliot and his associates represent clients in divorces, child custody matters, issues involving orders of protection and child support. The law firm offers free consultations to their prospective clients.