July 26, 2005

AP: Iraqi constituion may roll back women's rights

Iraq Constitution May Erode Women's Rights (link)

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A part ofIraq's draft constitution obtained by The Associated Press gives Islam a major role in Iraqi civil law, raising concerns that women could lose rights in marriage, divorce and inheritance.

[...] Most worrying for women's groups has been the section on civil rights, which some believe would significantly roll back women's rights under a 1959 civil law enacted by a secular regime.

In the copy obtained by the AP on Monday, Article 19 of the second chapter says "the followers of any religion or sect are free to choose their civil status according to their religious or sectarian beliefs."

Shiite Muslim leaders have pushed for a stronger role for Islam in civil law but women's groups argue that could base legal interpretations on stricter religious lines that are less favorable toward women.

Committee members said they had taken account of women's concerns but were not planning to make changes, since the National Assembly will have final say on the wording.

Committee member Khudayer al-Khuzai said Muslims would be free to choose which Islamic sect they want to be judged by under the proposed civil law.

"We will not force anyone to adopt any sect at all. People are free to choose the sect they see as better or more legitimate. This is implemented in marriage, inheritance and all civil rights," he said.

Not all Shiite laws are disadvantageous for women. Many Sunni Muslims who have only daughters prefer to follow Shiite religious law when it comes to inheritance, since daughters inherit everything their parents leave. Under Sunni rules, daughters have to share their inheritance with uncles, aunts and grandparents.

Out of 32 paragraphs, only 8, (EIGHT) paragraphs are remotely relevant to the title of the article.

The rest is called "filler," I guess.

Posted by Kyer at July 26, 2005 12:13 PM | TrackBack

Well, you know no one would have read it if it had been titled, "Conflicts Continue Over Iraq Constitution." That sounds so boring I almost fell asleep typing it.

Posted by: tee bee at July 26, 2005 04:42 PM