Friday, January 16, 2004

More on the Family Laws issue.
Al-Sabah has today on its front page a statement by Jalal Talabani, Kurdish Governing Council member, saying that Decision No. 173 by the Iraqi Governing Council cannot be passed because illegitimate. Yesterday Al-Sabah said that the decision was signed by all IGC members except one. Could be Talabni who has not signed the decision while the women on the IGC thought it was OK?

Inside, in its legal section, Judge Zakia Ismaeel Haqi has a column titled [Remarks on GC’s decision No. 137], here are the highlights of what she has written, it is a bit long if you are not interested in reading all of this go down to the bold bit:
There is no doubt that the Islamic Sharia was and still is one of the main sources of law in Iraq……………..the patience of the Iraqi family was rewarded with the announcement of the Personal Affairs Law number 159 in 1959 and its 12 amendments. This law took a lot from Sharia laws and the fiqh of various Islamic factions, for example the husband was not able anymore to divorce his wife by simply announcing the divorce to her three times [that’s a bit complicated to explain, the wife in sharia is considered divorced if her husband tells her “you are divorced” three times] causing the family to collapse.


The Iraqi family and specially the Iraqi woman was hoping that our brothers in the Governing Council, many of them who have struggled for 3 decades against the fallen regime, we hoped that they understand our need for more amendments to the above mentioned law and the deletion of some of the hurtful amendments added by the previous regime. We needed corrections to that law which will ensure more protection to the family but we were shocked by the announcement of decision no. 137 in what was an almost unanimous vote with only one voice opposing it.
A decision like that affects the Iraqi family profoundly and will have dangerous consequences I will not be able to list of them here in detail but maybe the main effect it will have is the following: this decision will abolish the current Personal Affairs Law [family law] which is followed by Muslim or non Muslim families, Social Protection Law, Minors Protection Law, Inheritance Law and all amendments to the 1959 law concerning non Muslim citizens Christians, Jews and Mandeans. Now that this law has been abolished who protects the rights of non Muslims?

I have a lot of respect to my brothers in the IGC specially some of them are colleagues in studying the law and I have joined others of them in the revolution of the Kurdish people in 1974. I am very disappointed that many of them have put their signature down on a decision which has not been properly legally formulated and has too many linguistic mistakes and I wonder how such a draft could pass thru the legal committee in the GC.
[she counts a couple of the more important legal and linguistic flaws]


Finally I am very saddened to see the fate of the Iraqi family and specifically the Iraqi woman amidst this storm. Some do not allow her to leave the house, others do not allow her to travel without a chaperone and another crushes her humanity by beating her thinking that he is practicing his lawful right according to the sharia. The Iraqi family refuses to go back to the dark ages and the 4th Hijra century now that we are in the 15th Hijra century. The Iraqi woman needs your understanding and support so that she can explore her full potential in causing positive changes in the economical, social and political structure in her country. And I hope you will not forget that women today are 65% of the Iraqi population.
I am fully convinced that a decision like this does not represent the Iraqi public opinion and our people look forward for more participation of women in the society.