Home News Iraqi parliament wants to deny women custody of children – Zuhair al Jezairy

Iraqi parliament wants to deny women custody of children – Zuhair al Jezairy

by admin

July 13, 2021 2:51 pm

Journalist AS, 52, got her daughter back from her father when the girl was 14. With tears in her eyes, she told me the story of her battle to get her daughter back, fought against her husband, who emigrated to Germany, and against his family. “It was a fight on three fronts at the same time. Even with my teenage daughter, to convince her it wasn’t my fault, ”the mother told me. Although a 1959 law of custody of children is the responsibility of the mother, the pressure from families was stronger than the law. Eventually AS got her daughter back because her father died of a heart attack.

This and other stories have become the subject of a bitter battle between parliament and NGOs over women’s right to custody of children. In parliament, the Justice Committee and the Committee on Women, Family and Children, along with most political coalitions, are lobbying hard to change Article 57 of the 1959 Personal Status Act. son or daughter to the mother and transfer the guardianship to the father in the event that the mother concludes a second marriage after divorce from her first husband.

NGOs and civil society denounce that the reform goes against the rights of women and children

Divorce cases in Iraq are growing rapidly: in 2020, 8,245 were registered in Iraqi cities, not counting the Kurdish region. The figure for non-formalized divorces is certainly much higher.

Hussain Eqabi, a member of the parliament’s justice commission, proposed the amendment “to protect the young daughter from the sexual harassment of her new husband”. The majority of women linked to major parties supported him, giving examples of this type of harassment. On 1 July the parliament started the first reading of the amendment. Only three women took sides against it.

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On the other hand, 600 women belonging to NGOs and civil society have firmly opposed the modification and signed a petition addressed to the president, the prime minister and the parliament: “The modification goes against the right of women to have custody of their own child and against the child’s right to be with his mother ”, they argue in the petition. For now, the vote has been postponed, but only pending a more appropriate time for final approval.

(Translation by Francesco De Lellis)

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