Iraq: Iraqi Women Network discusses the situation of women in Iraq
The following representatives from the Iraqi women’s movement included:
Minister Narmin Othman, MP Maysoon AlDamluji, MP ALA Talabani, President’s Advisor on women issues Salma Jaboo, Iraqi Women Network (IWN) Hanaa Edwar, and Basma Al-Khateeb from Iraqi AlAmal Association, gave their review on:
1. Iraqi political scene analysis/developments (Security improvement, complications resulting from disagreement between political stakeholders on the following issue: Article 140 in the constitution and Kirkuk issue, Constitutional Revisions, reassignment of a new government , provinces elections law, Fall behind of Reconstruction programmes and public services in addition to spreading financial and administrative corruption in government institutes),
2. Provinces’ Elections Law, coming general elections and women quota,
3. Iraqi Women Movement concerns over Constitution Revision, and article 41 in the constitution, increasing division of the country, fuel sectarianism and undermine the principle of equality before the law and women’s human rights,
4. Increasing Violence against Women
5. Support for Civil Society in Iraq, urging Iraqi government to adopt the Non Governmental Organizations law draft,
6. The role Iraqi women play in building peace, security, and national dialogue, as expressed in UN Security Council resolution 1325 where the Security Council calls on all actors to ensure the protection of and respect for human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary.
The representatives of the International agencies and diplomatic missions expressed their understanding to the concerns and the demands of the Iraqi Women and assured submitting the recommendations to their governments, welcoming further meetings.
Source: Iraqi Women Network
Ø May 3rd, ’08 in Diwaniya, 45 participants attended the discussion, including judges, academia, civil society and human rights activists in addition to Departments of HR, and members of city council, panellist were activists lawyers: Ms. Azhar Shaarbaf, and Ms. Ta’meem Azzawi,
Ø May 4th, ’08 in Najaf, nearly 30 participants attended the discussion, with same panellists,
Ø May 17th, ’08 in Kerbala, 21 personnel attended the roundtable discussion from judges, dean of Kerbala University, law college academics and professor’s of the topic of personal status, holly men, representatives of Department of Human Rights in Kerbala, several guests from the members of Kerbla and Najaf city councils, and media. Panelists were Judge Salem AlMusawi and Judge Hadi Aziz, with paper presentation on personal statutes law no 188 for the year 1959 and the possibilities of its revision
Conclusion of recommendations from the three round table discussions:
a) Working to delete article 41 from the constitution draft, or modifying it for the following reasons:
1. Any confirmation of this article will lead to chaos, due to the problems rising from differences between different sects ideologies concerning eligible marriage age, divorce, custody, heritage, etc.
2. In a single sect, there are different independent opinions and judgements on each single issue, as such, settling on one solution will be a problem,
3. To ratify this article, will allow a wide manoeuvring and improvisation towards sectarian and religious adaptations away from the best interest of people, closer to achieving personal gains, where people will change sects and faiths just to avoid conflict of judgements,
4. This article will weaken the Iraqi judicial system, as one of the important institutes where Iraqis head to solve their problems, and will allow larger powers and control for clerics and religious institutes over Iraqi society,
5. The personal status law number 188, in 1959, include big number of articles based and taken from Islamic Sharia of all sects, while maintaining the essence of the Islamic religion in preserving justice for all, equality, family stability and unity of the community, therefore it is important to preserve the law, and make amendments based on the basic principles of the current active Personal Status Law,
b) All the criteria and conditions that lead to listing of article 41 in the Iraqi constitution draft in 2005, at the political and social levels had changed as the community has rejected all forms of sectarianism and division and shows strong capacity to preserve national unity, this change happened after 3 year in which people in Iraq faced a lot of pain due sectarian violence,
c) The state must take in consideration in legislations to preserve the rights of all population comprising of women and men, of basis of citizenship and non discrimination, regardless of their religious believes, ethnicities and sects,
d) The article concerned with the personal status in constitution to correspond with article 14 of the constitution which assures equality between all Iraqis in front of law without discrimination on basis of sex, colour, ethnicity, nationality, origin, sect, belief, opportunities, economical or social status,
e) Focusing on confirmation of the paragraphs in the modified personal status law no. 188 for year 1959 which state that women had the freedom to chose her husband and protect her from early marriage or force her to marry against her wish, and marriage outside the court of law, and putting laws to stop some unnecessary acts of discrimination against women, like temporary marriage, polygamy which become so common these days and increased compared to previous years,
f) International human rights conventions, that Iraq had signed, like the 2 international conventions of political and economical and social and culture rights, and the agreement to remove all forms of discrimination against women, to protect women rights to marry and to have a family, and her participation as full qualified citizen in community development and improvement
g) Starting a broad campaign to raise women awareness of their rights, especially in the personal status law, and help her to get justice and provide all necessary legal services that the constitution and law had to guarantee for her.
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