I have a nine year old daughter. Last week at school she gave a speech on what she wanted to be when she grows up. She is currently torn between the options of swimming instructor, cricketer, a waitress or an author. Not surprisingly, child bride did not feature on her list.
I read an article online this week that made me sick to the stomach.
The Government of Iraq is currently considering legislation that will deny Iraqi girls any such choices. If the laws are passed, girls will be denied an education, personal freedom, or the right to live a normal childhood. Instead, it will become legal for men to marry nine year old girls. And not only will the marriage age for girls be lowered from 18 to 9, there are also a raft of measures that will deny Iraqi women basic human rights.
The changes include forcing women to get their father's permission to marry, whatever their age; needing their husband's permission to step outside their homes; the granting of the custody of all children, over the age of two, solely with their father.
Some brave women protested in Baghdad earlier this month on International Women's Day. Calling it legalised pedophilia, Hanaa Edwar, a prominent Iraqi human rights campaigner was quoted as saying: "We believe this is a crime against humanity." (ABC online - link below)
|Reuters: Thaier-al Sudan|
Edwar asks for outside pressure to be put on the Iraqi politicians. Iraq has ratified the international convention against discrimination of women (Cedaw) so the UN has already asked for the withdrawal of the draft law.
See more at: http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/100320141
What can we do?
Voice your concerns to:
The Hon Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia)
Voice your protests to:
The Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq, Sydney
Level 1, 42-44 Birnie Ave, Lidcombe NSW 2141
Voice your support to act to:
Cedaw - UNITED NATIONS Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
And share this post if you agree - the more people who see it and act, the more chance our voices have of being heard and the more chance there is that this evil legislation will be STOPPED!
* I will post copies of my letters under PAGES on the front of this blog. Feel free to use them as templates.
I'd love to hear of any actions you take on this matter - feel free to share your ideas and thoughts.