Dear Minister Bishop,
I am writing to voice my strong concern over the current draft legislation being considered in the Iraqi Parliament. I realise you are very busy, and that the Australian Government has many things to deal with.
But I hope this news has not escaped your attention.
The Shiite Ja'fari draft status law seeks to legalise the marriageable age of girls as young as nine years old. Further aspects of the draft law involve many ways of denying women in Iraq basic human rights and freedom; such as awarding sole custody of all children over two years of age to their fathers; denying a woman's right to leave their home without the permission of their husband; denial of a woman's right to choose a marriage partner at any age without their father's consent.
In your capacity as Foreign Minister, I ask that the Australian government please make it known to the Iraqi ambassador to Australia, how horrified we are that this law is being considered? Making clear our distress and our vehement opposition to this proposed law should be one of our highest priorities.
The proposed legislative changes will place Iraqi women and girls under terrible pressure and oppression. The new laws, should they be passed, have been described as a crime against humanity. (Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-09/iraqi-women-protest-against-proposed-islamic-law/5308380 )
As fellow human beings we cannot stand by and let this happen. A decision is due to be made on April 30, 2014. So time is short.
It seems ironic and offensive even that Australian troops have fought and worked in Iraq, and even lost their lives doing so, so that all Iraqi's might live free from oppression; and now some of their rulers seek to legalise such terrible measures against their own people.
In Australia we take so many of our freedoms and rights for granted, and I hope and pray that together the Australian people and government will not be afraid to stand up for these same rights for others.