Iraq: Don’t Legalize Forced Child Marriage

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Walk Free is a movement of people everywhere, fighting to end one of the world's greatest evils: modern slavery.

About the Petition

Any minute now, the Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalize forced child marriage.

The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:

  • There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18), but the law provides policies for divorcing a nine year old;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal; and
  • The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission.

It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.

Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East—setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage.

Brave Iraqi women have been fighting against removing the minimum age for marriage—for their sake and for the sake of their daughters. Last month on International Women’s Day, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad protesting the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the “Day of Mourning.”

We may not have much time to stop Iraq from legalizing forced child marriage and a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery for girls and women. Will you help?

To: Prime Minister of Iraq Dr. Nouri al-Maliki

The Jaafari Personal Status Law would enable forced child marriage and trap girls and women in a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery. I strongly urge you to vote "no" on this law and to encourage the members of your party to do the same.


[Your name here] 

Action Updates

  • 13 July 2014

    We have great news!

    You helped prevent forced child marriage from being legalized at a critical time in Iraqi politics by taking action with us. The Jaafari Personal Status Law, which would have legalized forced child marriage in Iraq, was not approved by Parliament in the lead up to the recent election. Now, we must keep the momentum going by ensuring that no man, woman, or child is forced, bullied, sold, or trapped into marriage. Join Walk Free and take the pledge to speak up for victims of forced marriage who can’t speak for themselves around the world.
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