Campaign to stop polygamy in Kurdistan-Iraq

Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq
2008 / 12 / 29

-To the Kurdish Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government

We demand the repeal of polygamous marriages and all other discriminatory laws against women in Kurdistan.

On October 27, 2008, legislation allowing polygamous marriages was passed in a parliamentary session in Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan. This legislation is part of a constitutional draft proposing to replace the old family status law, in use since 1958. It was changed partially, under Saddam Hussein, to subjugate women’s rights further.

After the fall of Saddam’s regime in 2003, a new constitution was written and passed in Iraq. This constitution was solely based on Islamic Sharia Law and openly stated its support for gender apartheid against women. We clearly see that the proposed constitution for the Kurdish region is no better than the Iraqi one. In fact, it is just a smaller version.

The current family status law was reactionary enough—being purely based on discrimination against women and their treatment in society as second class citizens—but now the Kurdish Regional Government wants to change it further, and not for the better.

Women in Kurdistan have been subjected to all kinds of violence and discrimination throughout their history. Under Saddam’s regime, they endured all kinds of hardship, torture and abuse. They have fared no better under the current Kurdish rule. “Honour killings”, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, bullying women to commit suicide and the denial of civil and individual rights have been the main characteristics for almost the past two decades.

The approval of this current legislation will assist in the oppression of women and lead to a huge increase in violence against women. This is a historical mistake. We hold the Kurdish parliament and its government responsible for the violations of women’s rights in this region, due to these discriminatory laws.

Therefore, we call upon every concerned organisation and individual to support us in this campaign to repeal this law. We also call for unconditional equal rights, freedom and equality for women in Kurdistan to be enshrined in law.

Yours Truly,

-Yanar Mohammed: President of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

-Houzan Mahmoud: representative abroad of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-UK

-Michael Eisenscher: National coordinator of US labour against the war

-Diana Namie: Director of Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

-Maria Hagberg: President of Network against honour crimes - Sweden

-Rega Svensson: Head of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-Sweden

-Nancy Mereska, Coordinator, Stop Polygamy in Canada

-Professor Fabienne Charlotte Orazie Vallino: Vietterbo University-Italy,

-Joe Tougas: Journalist, Human Rights Activist - USA

-Jennifer Kemp: OWFI board member in USA

-Daniel W. Smith: Journalist— Baghdad, Iraq/ New Haven, Connecticut-USA

-Maryam Namazie: Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran

-Joanne Payton: International Campaign against Honour Killings

-Thomas Unterrainer: Nottingham

- Sam Azad: Socialist campaigner

- Anne R. Grady, Massachusetts, USA

-Ingrid Ternert: Representative of the Peace movement in Gutenberg.

-Ruth Appleton Co-ordinator Santé Refugee Mental Health Access Project

-Anna-Lisa: Björneberg- Wilpf Sweden

-Aase Fosshaug: Sweden

-Heidi Maugué-Aebi: Women for peace Switzerland

Agnes Hohl: Women for peace Switzerland

Annamaria Traber: Women for peace Switzerland

Beatrice Fankhauser: Women for peace Switzerland

Lini Culetto: Women for peace Switzerland

- Gulzar Ali Kadir: Organisation of women’s Freedom in Iraq – Denmark

-Sara Mohammed: Never forget Fadime and Pela Organisation-Sweden

-Nabaz Xalid: Worker Communist party of Iraq- Sweden

-Maria Rashidi: Kvinnorsrätt - Sweden

-Ali Mahmud Mhamad: Writer Holland

-CHAK organisation:

-Zana Kurdistani: General Supervisor of Kurdistan Truth Party

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