03/12/2007, 00.00
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Kurdistan, a law proposed banning polygamy

A parliamentary committee will present the government with amendments to the civil code aimed at guaranteeing equal women’s rights, “in full respect of Islamic law”; changes to divorce and inheritance laws also proposed, Muslim leaders condemn the moves.

Erbil (AsiaNews) – The Parliament of the semi autonomous region of Kurdistan, in Iraq, is set to discuss a draft law to reform civil law and ban polygamy.  The proposal is being put forward by the Parliamentary committee for women’s rights; the news is being carried on the Kurdish government’s internet site.


According to the Committee, the amendments “are based on international agreements and the nature of the Kurdish community, aimed at securing a new level of gender equality but still in compliance with Islamic law”. Specialists in sociology and female activists believe that increasing social, economic, and political growth in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region necessitates different kinds of reforms and changes in prevailing laws. The civil status code in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region has been in effect since 1959, but is considered by female activists as giving more rights to men. In the case of divorce two thirds of property goes to the man; if it is the woman who petitions for separation she automatically renounces her right to all family belongings. 


Pakhshan Abdullah Zangana, who heads the committee consisting of 10 women and 2 men, said that they have suggested changes in marriage legislation, polygamy, divorce, inheritance rights. “We have come to a conclusion that polygamy is out of place – she adds - considering the current situation in Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Moreover, we want to amend divorce settlements in a way so that when divorce happens, both parties will get their equal share of household properties,”


Religious authorities have already branded the proposed changes regarding polygamy and inheritance as being “against the principles of Islam”. “However, - according to the committee - the proposed bill is still to go to the regional parliament of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region for discussion and ratification”. Abdu Bakir Majid, a lawyer at the Erbil Court, thinks that the new bill has a good chance to win the approval of the regional parliament considering that the constitution of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region is secular.

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