Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-21-05

Iraq Constitution Could be Setback for Women's Rights

Women's groups in Iraq held protests on Tuesday over draft language in the new Iraqi constitution that threatens to severely limit women's rights. Provisions currently being considered include putting family law, which covers marriage, divorce and inheritance, under the jurisdiction of religious courts, according to the New York Times. In addition, the individual family’s sect or religion would determine the law that would be applied in each case, leaving women in more restrictive, stricter sects the most vulnerable.

Also being considered is the elimination of the provision in the interim constitution requiring that women hold at least 25 percent of the seats in the National Assembly, according to the LA Times. Iraqi women worked hard to achieve this requirement, and 31 percent of the National Assembly seats are currently held by women. There is concern that, without the requirement, their numbers would drop significantly.

The draft document guarantees equal rights for women as long as those rights do not violate sharia law. Previously, Iraq was governed by family laws enacted in 1959, which were among the most liberal in the Middle East. Yanar Mohammed, head of the Women's Freedom in Iraq Movement, said, "We reject the changes prepared on the 1959 law because some Islamic parties want to kidnap the rights of women in Iraq. We reject such attempts because women should be full citizens with full rights, not semi-human beings," according to the Associated Press.

The interim constitution did not include language using Islam as a source of law, but the drafts have referred to sharia as a “main source” of law and attempted to clearly define Iraq as a Muslim country. These changes are similar to those made in the Afghanistan’s constitution, which states that "in Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam." In both countries, this type of language and dependence on religious courts leaves human rights and women's rights vulnerable to extremist interpretations of Islam.

DISCUSS women’s rights and the draft Iraqi constitution at ms.musings, Ms. magazine’s blog

DONATE to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls

Media Resources: Associated Press 7/20/05; Feminist Daily News 1/5/04; Los Angeles Times 7/20/05; New York Times 7/20/05


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/22/2014 Ohio TRAP Law Forces Cincinnati Clinic to Shut Down - The Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area will lose one of its abortion providers today when the Lebanon Road Surgery Center closes its doors. . . .
 
8/22/2014 Supreme Court Blocks Marriage Equality in Virginia - The US Supreme Court granted a request Wednesday to stay a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturning Virginia's marriage equality ban. . . .
 
8/21/2014 Flexible Work Requests Produce Fatherhood Bonus and Motherhood Penalty - According to a recent study, men who request flexible work schedules are advantaged over women who make the same requests. In the study by Dr. . . .