E English Version

December 2006

Occasional Paper 15

WLUML

Iraq

Women’s Rights Under Attack
Occupation, Constitution and Fundamentalisms

WLUML Occasional Papers:
Specific studies and materials which, for reasons of length or style, are not included in the Dossier series.

WLUML Occasional Paper 15

December 2006

The Occasional Papers are an occasional publication of the international solidarity network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws. Conceived as a networking tool, they aim to provide information about lives, struggles and strategies of women living in diverse Muslim communities and countries. Information contained in the Occasional Papers do not necessarily represent the views and positions of the compilers or of the network Women Living Under Muslim Laws, unless stated. Women’s groups may freely reproduce material, however we would appreciate acknowledgements.

Regional Coordination Offices in Senegal (Africa and Middle East) and Pakistan (Asia) and are responsible for coordinating network activities in their respective regions: Africa & Middle East Coordination Office Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes et les Lois au Senegal (GREFELS) PO BOX 5330, Dakar Fann, Dakar, Senegal Email: grefels@sentoo.sn and codoubop@sentoo.sn Asia Coordination Office Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre PO Box 5192, Lahore, Pakistan Email: sgah@sgah.org.pk Website: www.shirkatgah.org The International Coordination Office (ICO) facilitates communication between networkers: International Coordination Office PO Box 28445, London, N19 5NZ, UK Email: wluml@wluml.org Website: www.wluml.org WLUML would like to acknowledge and thank the following foundations and corporations for their support: - HIVOS, NORAD, Rights & Democracy, Sigrid Rausing and Swiss Development Cooperation. WLUML runs a very popular website in English, French and Arabic which is updated regularly with news and views, calls for action and publications. For more information please visit www.wluml.org

Occasional Paper 15 was edited by Sarah Masters and Caroline Simpson. Published by Women Living Under Muslim Laws. Design & layout by arissdesign.com. Printed by The Russell Press, Nottingham, UK ii

E English version

December 2006

Occasional Paper 15

WLUML Contents
Page v ix

What is WLUML? Introduction
by Caroline Simpson

1

Iraq – Meeting Poster
Women’s Rights Under Attack: Occupation, Constitution and Islamist Extremism

3

Iraqi Women’s Rights in Historical Perspective
Dr Nadje Al-Ali

7

Drafting the Constitution and Family Laws in 1959
Mubejel Baban

13

Campaigning for Women’s Rights in Iraq Today
Sundus Abass

21

Act Together – Action Leaflet
Women’s Action for Iraq and Take Action Now!

23

Briefing Paper for Parliamentarians Following House of Commons Meeting on 19 September 2006
by Sundus Abass and Nadje Al-Ali

27

Transcript of a Discussion Between Iraqi Women in London
July 2006

35

Iraq – Act Together Leaflet
You can help with some positive things there

WLUML Occasional Papers:
Specific studies and materials which, for reasons of length or style, are not included in the Dossier series.
iii

WLUML Occasional Paper 15

December 2006

iv

It now extends to more than 70 countries ranging from South Africa to Uzbekistan. and with global feminist and progressive groups. sexual orientation or others. and around the world. b) the laws that determine our lives are from diverse sources: religious. profession. • • • Women in secular states where political groups are demanding religious laws. preferring to prioritise other aspects of their identity such as political ideology. It achieves this by: • Breaking the isolation in which women wage their struggles by creating and reinforcing linkages between women within Muslim countries and communities. either because they are not believers or because they choose not to identify themselves in religious terms. This evolved into the present network in 1986. women in migrant Muslim communities in Europe.wluml. Nine women from Algeria. social and political context. For more information please see the WLUML website at www. Tanzania. We are governed simultaneously by many different laws: laws recognised by the state (codified and uncodified) and informal laws such as customary practices which vary according to the cultural.org What are WLUML’s aims and focus? The network aims to strengthen women’s individual and collective struggles for equality and their rights. Senegal to Indonesia and Brazil to France. conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to derive from Islam. homogenous ‘Muslim world’. It links: • Women living in countries or states where Islam is the state religion. For more than two decades WLUML has linked individual women and organisations. This deliberately created myth fails to reflect that: a) laws said to be Muslim vary from one context to another and. colonial and secular. Morocco. Non-Muslim women who may have Muslim laws applied to them directly or through their children. How did WLUML start? WLUML was formed in 1984 in response to three cases in Muslim countries and communities in which women were being denied rights by reference to laws said to be ‘Muslim’ requiring urgent action. support and a collective space for women whose lives are shaped. Sudan.What is WLUML? Women Living Under Muslim Laws is an international solidarity network that provides information. Iran. the Americas. The network is guided by Plans of Action which are reviewed periodically. Mauritius. Women born into Muslim communities/families who are automatically categorized as Muslim but may not define themselves as such. v . customary. especially in Muslim contexts. secular states with Muslim majorities as well as those from Muslim communities governed by minority religious laws. Our name challenges the myth of one. Bangladesh and Pakistan came together and formed the Action Committee of Women Living Under Muslim Laws in support of local women’s struggles.

WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 • Sharing information and analysis that helps demystify the diverse sources of control over women’s lives. women’s bodies and legal status are interlinked and feed into each other. the ICO and Regional Offices ensure that the relevant people in the network are meeting. planning and acting so as to support each other and thereby strengthen local. Based on their connections with networkers. will be primarily focused through the lens of sexuality and the struggle for women’s bodily autonomy. Although legally and financially autonomous. and therefore many WLUML activities around one issue have an impact on a broader range of issues. fundamentalisms. and their knowledge and understanding of networkers’ activities and contexts. although closely connected with WLUML’s critical issues. What are WLUML’s principles? WLUML focuses on laws and customs and the concrete realities of women’s lives. Regional Coordination Offices are in Pakistan (Asia) and Senegal (Africa and Middle East) and are responsible for coordinating network activities in their respective regions. and the strategies and experiences of challenging all means of control. WLUML does not have formal membership and networkers are a fluid group of individuals and organisations who maintain regular two-way contact with the network. This includes nonvi . Our long-standing and continuing concern regarding violence against women. This includes the often diverse practices and laws classified as ‘Muslim’ (resulting from different interpretations of religious texts and/or the political use of religion) and the effects these have on women.within our contexts and internationally. The Programme Implementation Council (PIC) comprises 20-30 women and men involved in aspects of cross-regional networking within WLUML for a significant period of time. They take primary responsibility for developing and implementing the Plans of Action. strategizing. We are especially concerned about marginalized women. WLUML’s current focus is on: • Peace-building and resisting the impact of militarization • • • Preserving multiple identities and exposing fundamentalisms Widening debate about women’s bodily autonomy Promoting and protecting women’s equality under laws The issues of militarization. The network consciously builds bridges across identities . they are key components of WLUML. How is WLUML organised? WLUML’s open structure has been designed to maximize participation of diverse and autonomous groups and individuals as well as collective decision-making. The International Coordination Office (ICO) has primary responsibility for facilitating coordination between networkers. rather than on the religion of Islam itself. regional and global effectiveness.

The personal has always played an important part in the work of WLUML. recognises and values a diversity of opinions. What does WLUML do? Solidarity & Alerts WLUML responds to. psychological support. it also selectively responds to requests for information from. WLUML actively endorses plurality and autonomy. Arabic and English wherever possible. Publications and Media WLUML collects. circulates and initiates international alerts for action and campaigns as requested by networking groups and allies. WLUML also provides concrete support for individual women in the form of information on their legal rights. trainings and workshops. proactively circulating information among networkers and allies. activists. Networking groups also translate information into numerous other languages. and exchanges.are either criminalized or are socially unacceptable. for example. Networking & Information Services WLUML puts women in direct contact with each other to facilitate a non-hierarchical exchange of information. and consciously reflects. and links with relevant support institutions. or racism. WLUML recognises that women’s struggles are interconnected and complementary. especially where spaces for religious minorities is rapidly dwindling. etc. generating new analysis. Capacity Building WLUML consciously builds the capacity of networking groups through internships at the coordination offices. international agencies and government institutions. academics. women whose assertions of sexuality . Networking also involves documenting trends. analyses and circulates information regarding women’s diverse experiences and strategies in Muslim contexts using a variety of media.What is Author MonthYear WLUML? TitleA TitleB Muslims in Muslim majority states. and supporting networkers’ participation in exchanges and international events. the media. and therefore has a commitment to international solidarity.including but not limited to sexual orientation . It translates information into and from French. expertise. While WLUML prioritises the needs of networkers. Individuals and groups linked through the network define their own particular priorities and strategies according to their context. vii . assistance with asylum applications. strategies and experience. Muslim minorities facing discrimination. oppression. which values the solidarity and active support that the networkers extend to each other by way of personal links.

calls for action and publications: www.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 • • • • An active publications programme produces: A theme based Dossier. research for advocacy.org/english/publications. For more information and to download WLUML publications. interests and analysis of networkers.specific studies and materials which. please visit www. the coordination offices provide facilitation when necessary. meetings and exchanges around specialised topics. women’s movements. Projects are principally coordinated and implemented by networking groups or individual networkers in their respective countries or communities. initiatives and strategies.wluml.org Collective Projects Collective projects have included topic-specific initiatives that arise out of the shared needs. struggles and strategies of women in various Muslim communities and countries. and collective projects have involved from three to over twenty networking groups and lasted from a few months to ten years. or not. Occasional Papers . Networking groups and individuals are free to participate. etc. cannot be included in the Dossier series and. Other publications on specific issues of concern such as family laws. Collective projects have included training sessions. an occasional journal which provides information about the lives.shtml WLUML runs a very popular website in English.wluml. workshops.INSAF (2002 . French and Arabic which is updated regularly with news and views. Previous projects include: • Exchange programme (1988) • • • • • Qur’anic interpretations meetings (1990) and for West African networkers (2002) and Francophone West Africa (2004) Women and Law in the Muslim world programme (1991-2001) Feminism in the Muslim World Leadership Institutes (1998 and 1999) Gender and displacement in Muslim contexts (1999-2002) Initiative for Strengthening Afghan Family Laws . according to their needs and capacity. laws and society by Shirkat Gah. A quarterly Newsheet on women. for reasons of length or style. WLUML Asia Regional Coordination Office.present) viii .

WLUML has also supported Iraqi women’s struggles through alerts for action. In particular they are trying to ensure that the pre-existing Iraqi Personal Status Law. “Iraqis are free in their commitment to their personal status according to their religions. In addition to what is recorded here. This publication includes three talks that were given at a public meeting attended by 100 people in July 2006 at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). which is their second or third language. As part of WLUML’s on-going work on gender in post-conflict constitutions. which states.Introduction This Occasional Paper features recent activities of one of WLUML’s networking organisations based in the UK. as part of various network activities in support of women in post-conflict situations particularly in Afghanistan. sects. three women networkers took part in a conference in Jordan in June 2005. hosted Sundus Abass. the Women’s National Commission. Iraq and Sri Lanka. one of the members of Act Together. ‘Our Constitution Our Future: Enshrining Women’s Rights in the Iraqi Constitution’. A film was made by Maysoon Pachachi. organised by Women for Women International. In 2003 WLUML worked with Afghan women on gender issues around the Afghan Constitution. There were radio. the Human Rights Committee of the Bar Association and Amnesty International hosted a meeting of NGOs. and Sundus made a presentation to the Iraqi Prime Minister who was in London and later to an invited audience at the Iraqi Embassy. or choices. All three speakers were talking in English. of a two-hour discussion in Arabic between three highly experienced Iraqi women activists – the translated transcript of the edited half hour film is also in this volume. is not replaced by Article 41. WLUML helped to make the visit possible. Women’s Action for Iraq. TV and newspaper interviews in Arabic and English. in London for 15 days. In July 2006 Act Together. beliefs.” This provision will have the effect of encouraging sectarian divisions within Iraqi society. but we have not changed the character of the presentations – only one of which was a written paper. We have edited their talks slightly. Sundus had a number of meetings with British parliamentarians. one of the more egalitarian family laws in the Middle East. Director of Women in Leadership Institute. and suggestions of actions that could be taken in the months after. in London. Baghdad. The aim of the visit was to highlight the work that Iraqi women are doing to try to amend the new Iraqi Constitution. ix . We hope that the other documents that we include here give an idea of the work done in that fortnight. Dr Nadje Al-Ali is an active UK networker and Sundus Abass is an active networker in Iraq. In addition. and this shall be regulated by law. This publication is a record of some of the activities that happened during those 15 hectic days.

Iraqi women are working hard to get Article 41 removed from the Constitution. the period extends well into 2007.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 As this Occasional Paper goes to press in December 2006 the consultation period for reviews and amendments of the Iraqi Constitution continues. So please let us act together and Take Action Now! Caroline Simpson Caroline is a staff member of the WLUML International Coordination Office and Member of Act Together – Women’s Action for Iraq. Due to a late starting date for the review. although the cut-off date is still under discussion. and to have international human rights instruments and provisions incorporated in the Constitution. x . There is still time for solidarity action to be taken as suggested in Take Action Now! (see p 21). and a number of parliamentary holidays.

Hear about cur rise of Islamist for women’s rights. now visi rights. Learn about the that has reduced women’s the constitution ing women in Iraq. Constitution an Women's Rights Under Attack: 0 17 July 2006. extremism that is threaten R support and action NOW. Iraqi jou ties and the Media” ent. Uni e” Nadje Al-Ali. founding Family Laws in 1959” and “Drafting the Constitution versity of Exeter: r in Social Anthropology. Constitution and Islamist Extremism IRAQ d Occupation. Lo ll Square) activists meet one of Iraq’s leading ion for Iraq invites you to t struggles in Iraq to amend Act Together: Women’s Act ren ting the UK. Director Today” ’s Rights in Iraq “Campaigning for Women activist: rnalist and woman’s rights Suad Al Jazairy. en's organizations need YOU A network of 37 Iraqi wom titute.org for donations. Political Par “The Iraqi Women’s Movem League member of Iraqi Women’s Mubejel Baban. The speakers are: www.Iraq Women’s Rights Under Attack: Meeting Poster Occupation. Baghdad of Women in Leadership Ins Sundus Abass.acttogether 1 . Senior Lecture hts in Historical Perspectiv “Iraqi Women’s Rig rge. Khalili Lecture Th ndon WC1 (tube: Russe Islamist Extremism Thornhaugh Street. 18:30-21:3 eatre SOAS. but we will be asking The event is free of cha .

WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 2 .

everything was bad under Saddam Hussein and. In order to understand how terrible the situation is right now. because of what is happening right now in Iraq. it was a dictatorship. on one side you have people saying. so there was an emphasis on women bearing children. as workers. or later on in Algeria and Palestine. What is happening right now. you know. We in Act Together believe that women might be the biggest losers in what has been happening. and I’m sure lots of people already know about it. as part of the political movement with respect to the independence struggle. and now women are liberated. Because of the economic crisis. because of economic needs . the situation is much more complex. women were doing very. women were suffering under Saddam. but in terms of women and general civic rights. women also started to get involved in the women’s rights struggle. and then the women’s issues. but they were also needed to produce future citizens. history is being constructed in different ways.Dr Nadje Al-Ali Iraqi Women’s Rights in Historical Perspective I will try within the given time restrictions to provide some background.” Of course. Now I will focus on the Personal Status Law. and the campaign around the Constitution. You are a mixed audience. “Well. You see in places like Egypt in the 30s. because I think there 3 . we should solve the bigger issues. women were pushed backward. The other context is that some of the debates that we’re looking at really have to be looked at in the light of the wider debate of the tensions between nationalism and feminism.” I think Sundus is going to speak more about this. you know. and also one has to look at different phases. where. but it’s very important to not fall into the trap of saying things were either wonderful or things were bad. has been happening in many other countries in the world. but you should be aware that currently.” That is one extreme. “Well. I can’t really go into great detail. and people were oppressed.there was an expanding middle class. there were different periods .because there was an expanding labour market . and one has to look at the changes in terms of the regime itself. it was quite complex. Of course. That was one context.the situation in the 70s was very different from that in the 90s. and women were needed as part of the labour force. The 70s were not like the 90s. but please bear with me for a few minutes. into the labour force. This was a very brief and superficial overview. For example. During the 80s there was a shift because of the eight year long war with Iran. “You know. both about the debate about the Constitution. Also in the 90s you had the shift towards more conservative policies. One has to look at the impact of wars and sanctions. of course. there is always the tendency to say. it is important to look back. But as is happening in Iraq right now.one can’t generalise . and women were not just needed in the public sphere. and now they are oppressed. more into the political sphere. in the context of liberation struggles (previously with respect to colonialism) on one level has actually pushed women more into the public sphere. when the state was very much pushing women into the education sector. as well as the more general issue of what the situation of women is now and in recent history. While other people are saying. The policies changed from the 70s. very well under Saddam. you know. and that women have been really pushed backwards. When you look at the thirty-five years of the Baath Regime.

The 1959 law had been published on December 30th 1959. when all the other laws can come from the civil codes? This has been historically the case. That is very important. except for the Personal Status Law. or set of laws. And the personal status codes are based on Islamic law.because in the 1959 law there was no specific age given but it was stated that the bride should be sane and have reached puberty. and we are having a similar debate right now. There is. to children .why is it that it is these laws that are going to have to come from Islamic law. Mubejel is going to speak about 1959. as Mubejel is going to talk about in greater detail. almost exactly 44 years later on December 29th. child custody and inheritance. But it was only after the revolution in 1958 that the personal status law was codified and enshrined in the new constitution of Iraq in 1959. The personal status code is the codified law. where all the laws are based on the civil code. The regime at the time did not radically change general relations inside the family. the Shari’a. child custody and inheritance was adopted. there was still a little bit of pluralism in the 70s. Iraqi women activists played an important role in assuring that a relatively progressive and egalitarian interpretation of Islamic law governing marriage. child custody and inheritance . we have a situation where there is no rule of law. But people. it refers to the laws that regulate marriage. but they took some of the demands of the women into consideration. divorce.why is it that it’s always laws related to the family. We have a situation in many countries where most sets of laws are actually based on civil codes. When we speak about the personal status code. often non-Muslim people. and it’s still the case. They wanted polygamy to be banned and they wanted no ambiguity in terms of the minimum age of marriage . that was the first time there was actually codified law and. to divorce. a unified law . a perceived problem in putting so much emphasis on the importance of the personal status law. as in Egypt. Remember that in 2003 the US had appointed an Interim 4 . In Iraq. and what it actually means. We could speak about this later . It’s not like that. for example. This debate around the personal status code is something that is a controversial issue all over the Muslim world. and also for a woman’s right to divorce. divorce. to prohibit divorce outside of court. very importantly. and a long list of other demands.there was a unified law that applied to all Iraqis. but the fact is that in terms of these issues divorce. and there were some women activists who demanded radical changes to the Personal Status Law of 1959. it’s more like a compilation. After the invasion of 2003. in the late 40s. But the regime was reluctant to be seen to be revolutionary with respect to these laws. another major event occurred in the history of personal status laws in Iraq. Although there was obviously no independent women’s movement under the Baath Regime.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 might be some people who don’t know about the debate. women activists also asked for the outlawing of forced marriages.a law that applied to Sunni and Shi’a Iraqis. to husband and wife. At present. which itself comes from different sources. reformist politicians in Iraq started to debate the need for a codified personal status law. which is the specific interpretation of Islamic law. In the 70s. think that there is the book of Shari’a and that everything is written in there. There were some women activists who asked for changes. in the context of Muslim societies. for some people.

b). And the economy plays an important role here as well. On December 29th Aziz Hakin. In the 70s. It is very difficult. Right now we are in this three month period. and culture is not homogeneous in Iraq. Okay. however we could look wider. and the north they are all cultures. That created a huge outcry amongst women’s organisations inside Iraq. An audience member felt that culture had been ignored and there were a number of comments about the relationship between culture and written law. when there was a need for women.Dr Nadje Al-Ali Author MonthYear Iraqi Women’s Rights in Historical Perspective TitleA TitleB Governing Council. and there were students who joined them. there would be a three month period in which certain amendments could be made. there was the literacy campaign. yes of course. it actually fuels sectarianism. to have inter-marriages if you have a law like that. and he pushed through what is known as Decree 137. The state and state policies had a huge impact on women in gender relations. There is a network of 37 women’s organisations inside Iraq trying to push for amendments of this law. Nadje Al-Ali responded: I have a problem with your statement because it makes culture sound a static thing . and in a simplified context. Although I totally agree that what I have presented today has a very “myopic” focus. and it does not conceive of a unified Iraqi law. also known as (SCIRI). and so the decision was taken that once a new government was formed. it might not have touched everyone equally so women in remote villages might not have been touched or affected as much as urban middle class women. amongst other things. and not just for well-educated women. and half of the people were not there. now. and internationally there was a solidarity movement. in terms of women in gender relations. or even discriminatory interpretations of Islamic law. from the 50s to today. and there was a big mobilisation. there is the culture that prevails in the south.and that this is a tribal culture. I should also state that when the Constitution was passed. I’m going to finish. Basically that decree stated that the Personal Status Law should be abolished. This is basically a situation similar to Lebanon where. That’s the first thing. Article 41 basically is a continuation of Decree 137. as usual. a). What it states is that people should follow the family law according to their religious sect. ideology. It is within this context that we felt that it’s important to look at the kind of campaigning that women are doing.something that Iraqis have had since the Middle Ages . there was a totally different prevailing culture. and one of the things that strikes me when I write about the different phases is that. the Leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. but also you must look especially at the influence of the state. and as the economic 5 . On that note. there were certain issues that people could not agree on. Women were forced to go through literacy programmes. there are no safeguards against conservative. in the Constitution that was drafted last year. after the oil boom. However. but still even there. because at that time the security situation still allowed women to go out on the street. for instance. That Decree was revoked that time around. I’m in the process of writing ‘A Modern History of Iraqi Women’. which had a rotating Chair. There is urban middle class culture. and we have a few minutes if you have any questions. there is culture. was chairing the meeting. and voted on.

and the government changed its policies. for instance. because everywhere in the world when you have unemployment. it also influenced the culture on the ground. And women were the biggest losers again. There were all kinds of laws. 6 . not just because of Saddam Hussein. We also cannot understand where we are here and now if we don’t look at the thirteen years of sanctions. when there was a sort of crisis of legitimacy. Dr Nadje Al-Ali is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology. Iraqi cultures have changed. when you have an economic crisis. became much more possible. Saddam. a crisis in terms of state power. University of Exeter. and ‘honour killings’. as the political needs changed.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 situation changed. But that is the state intervening in culture. but also because of thirteen years of living under the most comprehensive sanction system. made a deal with conservative tribal powers. women are pushed back home. So I think it’s a bit more complex than talking about one homogeneous ‘culture’.

representing Iraqi women. 188/1959). Members of Al Rabita joined the licensed organizations and worked through them. Dr Rose Khadouri. like the Red Crescent and the Women and Children Welfare Association. Many national political parties included women’s rights in their agendas. I would like to give a brief view on the status of Iraqi women since Iraq’s independence in 1921. In 1938 Mrs Amina AlRahal attended the first conference for women in the East held in Damascus. when about 150 women were arrested. When World War II ended in 1945. The Status of Iraqi Women Since Iraq’s Independence in 1921 Many schools for girls were opened during the 20s but colleges were not opened until the 1930s. the movement to liberate women in the mid-40s was very noticeable. Members of Al Rabita played a significant role in the cultural activities of The Iraqi Women’s Union (Alithad Alnisai AlIraqi). It included a number of special committees. The Iraqi Women’s Union was formed and it was supported by the authorities.Mubejel Baban Drafting the Constitution and Family Laws in 1959 Good evening and thank you for your kind invitation to speak at this very interesting and important forum. Before discussing the importance of the Personal Status Law No.188 issued in 1959 (No. Salima Alfkhri. the Red Crescent. social health issues and women’s rights. Al Rabita was not licensed but had great support from Iraqi women. Most members of these organizations were the wives of ministers or Director Generals. Beyout Al Uma and The Committee for Social Illnesses (which was primarily for disabled children). The League for the Defence of Women’s Rights (Al Rabita). Iraqi women also participated in the uprising in November 1952. AlZahawi and Aljawahiri. such as the literacy committee and women’s problems committee with many women lawyer members. They were seeking political rights for women and managed to 7 . In 1952 the first women’s democratic organization was established. Zakia Khayri and myself. Its main objectives were to raise national. especially because many famous poets and intellectuals supported the movement such as Alrisafi. martial law was introduced to crush the uprising and many women were subjected to long prison sentences. There were four charitable organizations namely. Many Iraqi women joined the uprising in January 1948 (Alwathba) to overthrow the Portsmouth Treaty (between Iraq and Britain). cultural. with the name. She also participated in the establishment of the Women’s Union in the Arab world. A number of charitable women’s organizations were formed. The Committee to Protect Women and Children. Safira Jamil Hafid. The founders of this organization were: Dr Niziha Aldulaimi.

It created 111 centres where women were taught to sew. became the first Cabinet minister in the Arab world way back in 1959. Dr Naziha Aldulami and was then studied and discussed by a committee of judges. kidnap. They endured these same conditions during all the years of Saddam Hussain’s rule of Iraq. The Personal Status Law No. 11/1963. Certainly the overthrow of the monarchy on 14 July 1958. At this time. (The League of Iraqi Women) due to a request from Abdul Karim Kassim when he opened its first conference on 8 March 1959. many small health centres were opened and many cultural events were held. The original name was considered too long. as explained below. Al Rabita was licensed and changed its name to Rabitat Al marra Al Iraqia only. The draft was submitted to the government by the President of Al Rabita. It opened branches all over Iraq and members were lawyers. 188/1959 and replaced it with Law No. religion. Iraq had no civil law governing matters of personal status. After the fascist regime came to power on 8 February 1963. they repealed the Personal Status Law No. Other women’s organizations were formed. At that time however. members of Al Rabita were subjected to imprisonment. whose chief editor was Salwa Zakou. This committee made few amendments and the law was published in the Government papers on 30 December 1959. lawyers and religious clergy (Ulama Aldin). the head of Al Rabita. torture and execution. It was the first law that was repealed.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 put pressure on the The Union to protest against Britain’s war on Egypt in 1956. in which many women lawyers participated. women were not included in the legislative process. and the primary aim was to remove the articles related to inheritance. 188/1959 Before 1959. In early 1959 a special committee was formed by the executive committee of Al Rabita to prepare a draft for the law.000. Dr Naziha Al Dulaimi. and ethnic background. peasants and teachers from every minority. In 1959 Al Rabita started publishing a monthly magazine (Almarra). namely The Organization of Women in Kurdistan and The Women’s Organization of the Republic but Al Rabita was the biggest by far. Iraqi women played a great role in defending the revolution and were present in all fields and the membership of Al Rabita increased substantially. labourers. Efforts to draft such a law were made in the second half of the 40s and the beginning of the 50s. 8 . led to many changes on women’s issues. Many lost their jobs. It opened 78 literacy centers with 7503 registered women and 605 volunteer teachers. In 1960 its membership reached 42.

That there was some “lawful benefit involved”. The law also addressed divorce. The 1959 law dealt with the issue of child custody in Article 57 and stated that the mother had a preferential right to custody of the children. Article 8 stated that capacity to marry was complete on the attainment of the age of 18 and according to Article 9. However this right could be forfeited if she were a minor. the new law contained some daring reforms. It imposed a number of restrictions on a man’s ability to divorce his wife. However.” The most far-reaching reform in the law was the one which gave men and women equal shares in inheritance. The determination of this matter would be left to the discretion of the judges. The law was a response to many concerns raised by women. New amendments in the 70s were issued regarding polygamy which made it illegal to marry more than one wife but with exceptions such as the approval of the first wife. in the case of mental illness or if the first wife was unable to have children. the law-makers based this article on the Ottoman law that regulated the rights of succession to the use of government land (Alaradhi alameria) and awarded female heirs an equal share to that of their male counterparts in all cases. 2. that he or she has attained puberty and requests permission to marry. It required a woman’s consent to marriage (Articles 4 and 6) and three Articles made an effort to tackle the issue of child marriage. The law of 1959 did not ban polygamy but set out strict limitations. The law also allowed women to seek dissolution of marriage through juridical processing (Tafriq) on various grounds such as injury and family discord. Article 3 Section 4 provided that marriage with more than one wife was not sanctioned without the permission of a judge on two conditions: 1. “If a girl or a boy claims after reaching the age of 16. untrustworthy. The husband’s failure to pay maintenance was also grounds for divorce. giving them more stability in their family lives.Mubejel Author Baban MonthYear Drafting TitleA the Constitution and Family Laws in 1959 TitleB Although based on Islamic law and claiming to derive its principles from those rules in the Shari’a. those exceptions have to have the approval of the judge. It is worth mentioning that similar restrictions were also applied in Moroccan law. insane. the judge may grant this if he is satisfied of the truth of their claim and of their physical fitness for marriage. deemed unfit for the task or if she married someone who was a stranger to the child (ajnabi). and Tunisian law banned polygamy completely. if the husband was unable to consummate the marriage or afflicted with certain mental or physical illness. The husband’s financial capacity to support more than one wife. 9 . This law positively affected the lives of Iraqi women.

maternal custody was prolonged until the child reached the age of 10 and allowed an extension by the Court until the age of 15 if the child’s welfare so demanded. a father or a brother. Article 39 states that Iraqis are free to deal with matters relating to personal status in accordance with their religion or sect or beliefs or choices and that will be organized by law. for which they sacrificed so much over the last four decades. In its place. allowing the Court to extend this period if the welfare of the child so required. Women will be the first victims because Shari’a law is in favour of men’s rights rather than women’s welfare. Non-religious political parties also opposed the Decree. The Constitution ignores social and economic rights for women. Since the toppling of Saddam Hussain. Women under the age of 45 were not allowed to travel alone and had to be accompanied by a male relative such as a husband. In the 1978 amendment. The supporters of Decree 137 did not give up. the Shari’a was to be applied in matters concerning personal status. 10 . or held foreign citizenship and refrained from returning to Iraq for more than three years. maternal custody was only granted until the child was aged seven. It’s so ambiguous! Also. Article 2 of the Constitution and the abolishing of Article 44 from the draft concerning international treaties means that women will be taken back to the Middle Ages. the threat of abolishing Iraq’s progressive Personal Status Law has hung like a dark cloud over the heads of Iraqi women. Women were encouraged to seek juridical divorce if their husbands evaded or deserted military service. This was not the end. On 29 December 2003 The Interim Governing Council (IGC) passed Decree 137 to abolish the law. Iraqi women have lost a lot of their achievements.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 In any case. were convicted of treason. on the basis of this Article there is a threat to abolish the Personal Status Law and replace it with a law which depends on Shari’a law. Men who divorced wives of “Iranian origin” became eligible for government grants. During the 80s and 90s divorce became a weapon of the regime. They made sure that Shari’a law was included in the new constitution. In brief. The IGC then reconsidered the Decree and it was repealed two months later. Activists representing 80 women’s organizations carried out a series of organized protests and not only demanded the repeal of the Decree but also that they have an active role in drafting a new personal status law. defected to the enemy side.

Ayad Allawi’s cabinet there were 6. Making contacts with the Secretary General of the United Nations. women’s NGOs. now there are only 4 women ministers).Mubejel Author Baban MonthYear Drafting TitleA the Constitution and Family Laws in 1959 TitleB Iraqi women activists have a great and important role to play. especially the media. by: • • • • • Educating Iraqi women about the danger of abolishing this law. Mubejel Baban is a founding member of the Iraqi Women’s League. 11 . and human rights organizations all over the world. These are only a few suggestions. Asking for an increase in the number of women ministers (In Dr. but the struggle to fight for women’s rights in Iraq is a priority in the re-building of Iraq. Thank you very much for listening. and must continue unabated. Exerting pressure on women members in the Iraqi parliament to raise women’s issues. using all possible avenues.

WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 12 .

these new military groups . and they have to join the Army. The second problem with women’s issues in Iraq is that when they need her to. but they suddenly remember Islam or Shari’a. “With all that has happened now. or to drive the car. maybe even me. Okay. do you feel that it is better to return back to dictatorship? Or it is better that at least you are safe. we could come. have really tried to do anything about it. I’m not here to tell you some sad stories. and we have to protect her. they are now talking about not allowing women to work after the age of seventeen or eighteen. it’s better for them to be in their houses.democracy itself . I think I have to be very careful in what I’m going to say. It is really not easy to talk about Iraq. because I think all of us know. which happen every day in Iraq. that after three years neither the American. or to enter sports. and also because of the bad history of Saddam. and deal with all the family matters. and drive the car. Of course. we will return to dictatorship. then the women have to work. People will ask. and at least we will be safe. is it a democracy? If it is. And yet this is not the nature of our society in Iraq. and so on. There is no problem then letting the woman work and drive the car. At least we have today.” 13 . and now because of something new . Maybe when we talk about this now. It is a big dilemma for the one who speaks last. But the worst thing is. or we can come back to Saddam.all of us are living under all these pressures. or the Iraqi political leaders. maybe someone will ask. the woman works.and all this mess which has happened is all of this at the same time. but at least we have today. what shall I do with democracy with all this mess? This is what most of the Iraqi people now are doubting . we could go. with the dream of democracy we lose our …… we start to lose our life. but it seems that everybody then in Iraq forgot Islam. is not because of just one reason or related to one factor alone.” But now we are under this . “As for women. If all the men have to deal with military forces. and the situation there.and some of them are actually asking. or to start with. And now. in order to make limits to the lives of all Iraqi women. and it’s better for her not to work. or you can do what you like now?” It seems to me there is a problem of some kind with the definitions of life and freedom. but at the same time. What is happening in Iraq. which is strange.Sundus Abass Campaigning for Women’s Rights in Iraq Today I want to thank everybody for being here with us. It is part of the suffering of the whole of Iraq. During Saddam’s period we lost our freedom. suddenly there is this man. and the media covers a lot of it. For instance. and we are worried about her. well. and he is their political leader. and I want to thank Nadje and my friends here in Act Together for organising this meeting. and giving me this opportunity. But when there is no need for this. “What is this. It is not easy to choose which is the key issue that you want to begin with. but at least we could move. But I’m here maybe to discuss some ways to put some good strategies forward to work together or act together. there is an official effort to increase the suffering of Iraqi women by making a new law. because after all those who have spoken in a very perfect way. First of all let us look at the suffering of Iraqi women. Even in Saddam’s period there were some problems with all these things. or some decrees. It is because of the American occupation. and we lived in a very bad security situation. yes. and very bad economic situation. He says. and you can move. we know nothing of the future.

We try to help. but during the elections they introduced the woman beside them. all of them were talking about “the women’s issue”. through the Iraqi Women’s Movement. and I supposed that they were coming back to rebuild democracy in Iraq. nobody works as a security man for us . and the British. But what happened is. and when they had got their results . and they would try to delete this article. But this is actually what happened to us: they promised us that they would take care of this. And the quota in Iraq was actually put in the Constitution by the influence of the Iraqi women. They started making the Constitution. Yes. We are worried. and you are just worrying unnecessarily about it. Most of them had been in the UK and the US. and about the law. as a Women’s Movement. or not very important. through all these organisations.immediately they had been announced . we talked with them.with all this suffering of the society . But the same as with the Americans. as NGOs we have no-one – no bodyguards. Sometimes 14 . but it seems it was only words. We have been trying to do something for the women in the villages and the cities.“Now what do you need as a woman?” They always ask us. in the streets in the summer and.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 As an Iraqi woman.they wanted to delete the family law. and then we will deal with women’s issues. I want to talk now about other areas such as educating women. about the Constitution. they gave a promise. They said that they were worried about women’s issues. because even the Americans were against adopting the quota in the Constitution. Then we met the Constitution Committee.even the religious political parties. when it came to the election period. they refuse to shake hands with the women. “Let us finish with the security situation. most of our programmes work in this field. so we have to be satisfied with this number. Everybody now is trying to delete all these achievements of Iraqi society and Iraqi women.trying to delete this new article. and they said this is what they had given us women in Iraq. And we started at that time campaigning on this . not because the male political leaders agree with it. and most of them said they were ‘feminists’. of course. but again because of the security situation. in Baghdad. and the UN. “What do you need?” In the parliament we have 71 women. they always let a woman sit beside them . and it should be a law which is organised for ourselves.Iraqi women. and no more talking about women’s issues. and I think it is something that should be a law for Iraqis. They always say the same. They wanted us in their photographs. I didn’t think that I would be worried any more about women’s issues and that they would not be a problem any more. And in Iraq now . let us finish with the economic situation. you know. because we feel it is something which should protect women in Iraq. and said they were very careful with women’s issues. we try to do something for the society. I supposed that these people had left Iraq because of the absence of democracy. I mean for all the different societies. We held three protests in the Iraqi streets. The second thing which has happened is that people say it is not one of the priorities.in all this bad situation . But just after the elections had finished. we cannot keep working on this.but we did it by ourselves. and just after the first draft we found out they had put in this article . In fact the number of women in the parliament is because of the quota.” It seems that it is something not very urgent. when I saw these Iraqi political leaders returning to the country.

It is a unified law. and it covers all the Islamic rules. it is also for the Liberal political parties in Iraq.for the near future . she just repeats what they say. you can read from their eyes that they don’t listen to what are you talking about.SundusAuthor Abass MonthYear Campaigning for Women’s Rights in Iraq Today TitleA TitleB with some of them. you are just making a noise. political law. or this political party. of women in the rest of the world. And what’s happened in Iraq. is not only to the secular women. So maybe this is a part of their plan to make a mess of the society. Women are starting to be afraid to go outside their houses. and of course it will.women’s issues are not a priority. they are not feminists. Let us look at women in parliament and the Iraqi Women’s Movement. more than this has happened. and the weakest woman from the party. you are just saying something for the sake of saying something. because we found they killed two or three women. When we look at the Islamic women who are now in the parliament. and I always ask them.we need the support. or to drive a car. then whenever we talk with her. and we found them on the street. In this case there is no reason to say that it belongs to either Shi’a or to Sunni. at least there is somebody who supports us. and moves and makes contacts with the others from outside Iraq. and who will deal with these courts? Are they religious men or are they judges. because nobody knows what will happen after ten minutes in the street. The violence now in Iraq is against all the Iraqis. not because of the support of women. They were Islamic women. But still it is not easy. So if they want to delete this law. it’s based on Shari’a and Islamia. They were and are also very naive about women’s issues.we want to save them from this dilemma. By adopting this article the family law will be deleted in Iraq. because they are not politicians. because she believes that she is now in parliament because of this law. because their leaders have control over them. who had full hijab. they are not part of the Iraqi Women’s Movement. and over their ideas. because we need their support. who will deal with these 15 . and now she is part of this political party. because it matters so much for women. I want to point out that this is not only true for the Islamic political parties. it is not. Sometimes these military groups use force on the women first. in order to make it easy for them to say what they tell them to say. And I think it is the time for this. and they always choose their weakness. That is why we are working hard just by ourselves. Life for Iraqi families is very difficult. how many courts will we establish in Iraq? Please don’t think that we have only Shi’as. They do not see women’s issues as their problem. And. and put them in the parliament. they just repeat the programmes of their political parties. Now I want to discuss Article 41 of the Constitution. I want to ask. or women without hijab. for all women and only the women in Iraqi Women’s Movement. Within Shi’a there are so many courts. most of them are worried about the Chair. or an engineer. la-la-la-la. naturally. and the party tells her. because if we cannot move inside Iraq. and they just killed them. and maybe for the next little while . the real support. That is why we are working on it with them . but it seems it is the same story . so how many courts will we establish. One may be a very simple teacher. actually. Some people outside the country think that the family law in Iraq is civil law. We have tried discussing with them. Of course. and the Christians have even started to cover their hair. within Sunni there are so many courts.

WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 courts? I don’t think that the Iraqi government has the ability and the time to establish these courts. Some of the Constitution Committee members. I never left the country before. What shall we do with mixed families? Perhaps the father is from a Sunni background. and this is what we are working on during our campaign. and the men can do what they like to do. it was not Saddam who signed. “Do you want it according to Shi’a or do you want it according to Sunni?” So there is no problem with that.” Let me make clear. with the Islamic Party is very strange. With this law we protect our families. when we talked with them about it.there is always some shortage of view for the role of the woman. we protect our society. In the environment we are working in. it was Iraq who signed. So. Her parents can take her to the religious man and get her married to a man. for example in relation to the suitable age for a woman to get married. these documents are signed by Saddam. If I wear a hijab.respected her. because I believe all that’s happened is not in the nature of our society. when they are just worried about the security situation. For us it is something we have to work on. I am talking like this because I have always been in Iraq. They always say that they want to preserve themselves as a group within Islam. and what she should do in her society. but still we have our hope. if they are divorced. On this point I want to say that even the new Iraqi Constitution says in its first article that all Iraqis are equal. or not. and. Islamia. I know that with all these difficulties we always. We also have a problem over international conventions and declarations. Sometimes they discuss this article with us. or put on the niqab. all our 16 . it is good for the whole society. I mean as Shi’a or as Sunni. and Saddam has gone. the Judge asks you. It seems that the problem of the era is only whether to cover your hair. That is why I think they will leave it for the religious men. and always encouraged her to be educated. so it is something belonging to the Iraqi state. and to adopt a new article about the Human Rights Declarations. in Iraq. our dream. The point is. Sometimes I tell them. we have another disappointment about that. “OK. or the men in the family . It is something about doubting the role of the woman . because it is based on the family. and the mother from a Shi’a family. But suddenly. first of all. as a family. We understand this. not to Saddam. and maybe we’ll adopt them.I mean the boys. or divorced.they will take all the rights of the woman? Because the woman cannot do anything. you know. and they have no need for equality. and the UK actually helped us try to put in an article referring to these declarations. Working in Iraq is not easy. but according to the existing family law in Iraq. to improve herself. what will happen with the family? And their brothers . when you go to the court in order to get married. Some Islamic groups consider that nine years for the girl is a suitable age to get married. as a result. it is not easy. For example. this already exists. they said. again. and maybe there is no need for it. in the older Islam. So the existing family law is not something which is good only for women. what’s happened now. or not. Another thing we are worried about by adopting this article is the problems with some Islamic rules. because every group can put their conditions as they like. Maybe some of it is against Shari’a. respected the woman . but in article 41 it seems they are not equal. maybe not. The UN. We want to delete Article 41. so we will read them again. it was up to the woman to cover her head. or they die. which is an important situation. “Well. the US.

It seems to me that we need to work together. and people leave the country. what are human rights. Maybe during the few next days. because she is always worried about her children. They are starting to talk about it. so certainly some of them will say. but it still needs work. “Oh. and maybe you cannot find anybody who will cover your body in the streets. we need to be there. in order to achieve something for Iraqi society. and focus on this important issue of women’s rights? And how could you make it a priority for women in Iraq to fight for their rights? Sundus Abass: As regards the Liberals. And how can we make it a priority? You know. or to do something. and everything is finished. supporting them. this is what happens. it is not easy to get people to worry about their rights. All of us will wear it! No problem!” It appears that they forget about all that is happening in Iraq. about money.. And this is what I am worried about. And when we need their support it seems that what they are saying is. it is not easy. It is unreal! . actually. what are the rights of women.. Working in Iraq. will we have some kind of problem in Iraq if they delete this? If they take this article out. when we talk about the family law. People are now talking about what women want. I wonder if there is any infrastructure whereby we can just continue working by e-mail. it is very easy to be killed in Iraq. and the political struggle. maybe we can meet again and plan some real strategies for working together to give Iraqi women some more support. working on the ground with the people. we hold workshops and classes in order to talk with them. they are just worried about federalism. And this is especially true for the women. END OF MAIN TALK Question: Why don’t the Liberal groups and parties work hard for. But it is very easy. So. because it is something for the whole society .. all these things are her priority. I think that women’s issues are not the priority on their agenda. 17 . because they want to go to work. and what matters is just what women wear. and we start to at least make the women’s issue a general issue. This is what makes our work more complicated and more difficult. “Oh. the Kurdish leaders are the only ones who help us.we use media. most of the Iraqi men are also sometimes naive about this issue. and this bad security situation and very bad economic situation. because when our people in Iraq are under these difficulties. what will happen to us?” So because of all these difficulties it is not easy. because of this complicated situation. and then we will discuss women’s issues.But this is also something which we have to deal with it. not like the others. for example. you cannot imagine. about the electricity. or not. Just by five minutes your life is finished. but we are working in many ways . most of them are shocked. about her life itself.SundusAuthor Abass MonthYear Campaigning for Women’s Rights in Iraq Today TitleA TitleB problems will be solved.” Though. when they discuss the articles of the Constitution. “Let us finish with federalism. who will work there? This is what I’m afraid of. because I am here in London. If they start to threaten people. men and women. for the Kurdish people. as Mubejel said. do you have this kind of problem?” When we talk about it.. And another thing that is strange.it is not only for Iraqi women. or by phone? I don’t think so.

for me at least. for us. they cannot. So I think if we have help. is that they adopted it as an Article in the Constitution. and the space that there is? It seems to me that you are under attack from two sides. and when they discuss the government. Iraq was considered as one area. Women in Iraq are active. Because this was the problem in Saddam’s period. but still it was 25%. for example. and keep working. or the political process. Questions were asked about the women’s quota. Sundus: As regards the quota. But actually. We have 71 elected women. We asked to not make it only three months. because we work. but he refused to let women be in decision-making positions. Sometimes. for the last Iraqi parliament it was more than 25% which was achieved. But what we have faced with the quota. to have contact with the people. For the second elections we divided Iraq into more than one area. to get some professor of Constitutional Law to participate in the committee for rewriting the Constitution. we always try to organise meetings. still keep supporting women in the Iraqi parliament. It seems to me there is a dilemma with the quota. what space do you have? Sundus: As for the women’s organisations.they are the most active side of all the civil society organisations. secondly. we adopted the quota. of course. or sometimes they try to ignore our efforts. they refused to give adequate ministries to women. For the Iraqi Women’s Movement. On the one hand you want women to be properly represented in the parliament but on the other hand you have to be worried about the quality of the women. very active. especially in the period of the Review of the Constitution. We still support them. obviously they are against us. But we always try to do something. Iraqi groups. I mean women chairs in the parliament. but when they established the government. in order to make it one year. and we want them to allow the NGOs to participate in the committee. some of them are against us. and we. and this is because of the system of elections. A lot of them will be against you. so they are very.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 Question: Can you tell us any more about women’s organising. we asked for one year. you know. and have always faced so many difficulties over the last few years. there are only 18 . and we support the quota. First of all. or discuss anything about political issues. The state depended on women’s efforts in all fields. We also want to put pressure on. to have an initiative to work. because we need our society to see women in decision-making positions. there are no women present. they are the best . two kinds of illegality are happening. and maybe they will pass it again. we try to work in defence of all these women. against women’s issues in themselves. and we still. because we think that with all this crisis nobody will care about the Constitution. and we support each other. which women. But we lost 16 of our chairs. as organisations there in Iraq. or won’t support you. and with the UN. even if some are against us. the illegal occupation of Iraq and. we will recover something for Iraqi women. That’s why we are working with other groups. and also achieved the quota. the illegal insurgencies that are now occurring. maybe because of the difficult lives they have. what space is there for women’s organising between these two illegalities. both very violent.

to support them. as I told you.. all of them. so they have to follow their leadership. they will refuse all these things. We just read what they had written. all the Iraqi families have satellite. it is covered by Iraqi law. and all our family says it is okay. and as you know. it is so different for them. they didn’t come through the right channels. we just listened to what they said. we have never traveled. if you see. I think there will be a change for the next generation in Iraq.this is the role of the Iraqi Women’s Movement to keep working. but this is something that we have to work on. Now. Baghdad 19 . They can learn that it is according to Iraqi law. and Internet. and it’s important for us to work with them. will refuse this right . Question: Can I just ask why? Everything else seems to be actually going in the other direction. They will lose their seats if they don’t obey their bosses. after four or five years. But for the future. and they are starting to discuss these things like who has the right – whether the man has the right to hit his wife. Sundus Abass is Director of Women in Leadership Institute. and ignore the women. most of them just a mouthpiece for the political leaders. Mubejel Baban: May I add something? Certainly those women members in the parliament. they are very well paid. Young women now. again. Maybe women in Iraq now. Now for us.SundusAuthor Abass MonthYear Campaigning for Women’s Rights in Iraq Today TitleA TitleB men. they don’t care about women’s issues. Sundus: And.to give this right to the man. if you ask me. but I think it is our role .the role of the Iraqi Women’s Movement . I mean they came through influence in their parties. absolutely. I say this is our role . because it is a law. because it is the nature of modern life. We need another quota in the government. they are. Actually. to let them know that this is dangerous. for me. they always ignore the efforts of women.. There was some discussion around the ‘right’ said to be given under Shari’a law. why would the younger generation refuse it? Sundus: You know. This is not our mistake. for a man to hit his wife. I think they will. because for them. If you ask about supporting women in the Iraqi parliament. but now it is open. we accept it. we have never seen.

WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 20 .

Support the Iraqi women’s Iraqi women’s organizatio ctly getting in contact with a) dire rmation and resources erience. July 16-31 start of the visit to the UK of Prepared on the www. Support the dem ents from three months to for constitutional amendm a) prolong the period year ied personal status code. info engage in exchange of exp the Iraqi Parliament to ity movements to pressurise b) start international solidar women’s rights. resources (bo ing urgent humanitarian and play a crucial role in address of expertise and 4. Support Iraq olarships etc) and expertis oks. Support Iraqi NGOs that – fundraising.acttogether. would like you to take to t well as the US governmen me Minister and MPs) as ssure your government (Pri Iraq. Constitution and keep a unif b) to delete article 41 of the st 2006 Sundus Abass. sch information. i universities. London N7 g. 1. www. periodicals. Pre ps from table for withdrawal of troo and to draw up a concrete time ke criminal immunity for UK and US governments to revo 2.acttogether. Enc and s as well as educational Iraqi students and scholar projects. movement by: ns inside Iraq and 6. the exchange of US soldiers for crimes com academics by engaging in e.org information@acttogether.or Take Action Now! that she come concrete actions Abass to come up with We have asked Sundus support Iraqi women. exchange l needs on the ground educationa ctive role by supporting information. Pressure the British mitted in Iraq. to pay a more active and effe ourage The British Council cultural institutions and 5. tions on human rights and adopt international conven movement to: one ands of the Iraqi women’s 7.org For further information see 21 . students and 3.Act Together Women’s Action for Iraq and Take Action Now! Action Leaflet ACT TOGETHER Women’s Action for Iraq 6XE PO Box 34728.

WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 22 .

women may be forced into marriages. medicine. Iraqi women have been foremost in the region to enjoy equality and thus have been able access education and training and to enter many professions – law. From the 50s. Women in Iraq. the marriage of girls as young as 9 will be sanctioned. But Article 41 does not merely erode the rights of women and deny them the rights they are entitled to under International Law (Iraq ratified the CEDAW. unprotected by any legal safeguards. custody of children. engineering. Article 41. and women. It codified all the existing laws relating to marriage. albeit with reservations). widening the conditions under which a woman could seek a divorce. Iraq was a secular society. and chronic civil war. and requiring a judge’s permission for a man to marry a second wife. which applied to everyone. for Sundus Abass. The judiciary will not be independent. whether Kurds. now face the threat of having all the rights they have enjoyed since 1959 taken away from them. against their will. will experience a regime similar to that imposed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. in the House of Commons. will change totally and irrevocably the lives of Iraqi women. will be replaced by family laws pertaining to specific religious and ethnic communities. Sunnis. to a dead husband’s male relative. 23 . was based on a progressive reading of Islamic Law. but uniquely it combined Sunni and Shi’a regulations and applied to all Iraqis. as I explained at the meeting. lived and worked side by side. if widowed. Inheritance. Authority will reside in conservative religious leaders who can interpret the Shari’a according to their own beliefs. which. or Shi’ite thus giving a sense of unity to the Iraqi population as a whole. It also prescribed punishments for marriages contracted without legal authorisation. will threaten existing ones. Sunni and Kurds intermarried. and divorce rights will be denied to women. as I know you are well aware. Director of the “Women in Leadership Institute” in Baghdad. inheritance etc. if retained in the Constitution. outlawing forced marriages. Arabs. divorce.by Sundus Abass Briefing Paper for Parliamentarians Following and Nadje Al-Ali House of Commons Meeting on 19 September 2006 We. Amendments to this Code were made by the Ba’ath regime in 1978. but despite government repression largely without sectarian violence. to have repealed the intensely discriminatory Article 41 in the new Iraqi Constitution. The 1959 Personal Status Code (Family Law). It will make new mixed marriages virtually impossible. In some communities. it will also fuel and increase sectarianism and ethnic cleansing inside the country. custody. academia – on an equal basis with men. and will leave in extreme vulnerability those citizens of Iraq who belong to no religious group at all. and Shi’ite. along with 37 other Iraqi women’s organisations in Iraq has been campaigning. or remarried. the Iraqi Women’s Network in Iraq as well as Act Together: Women’s Action for Iraq are most grateful to you for chairing the meeting last Wednesday. It will further a sense of communalism as opposed to unified citizenship and condemn Iraq to continual sectarian violence. The old Personal Status Family Code. in increasingly dangerous environments.

even killing those who are involved in the struggle for women’s rights. Insert as Article 1 that. “International Conventions. However. even in the North. so far no constitutional draft committee has even been established. and ask the UK government to use all means. and the social death of millions of women…and women now far outnumber men in the population due to the series of wars and repression by the previous regime. take precedence over all interpretations of domestic law. and respect for human rights. rather than risk their lives by joining forces with “women”. let alone the rights of women. meetings. the Iraqi women’s groups in the UK are working closely with our sister groups in Iraq. We. financial (aid) to persuade the Iraqi government to: a) b) c) Extend the period for determining constitutional amendments from three months to one year. Will the UK 24 . violence.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 What can be done? In addition to opposition to Article 41. The current security situation makes it impossible for any consultations. Delete Article 41 in its entirety from the Constitution. political. told the world it was bringing “democracy and liberation” to the people of Iraq. Millions of women and girls dare not leave their homes to go to school. ratified by Iraq. aided by the UK. to university. there are other issues such as federalism and the status of Kirkuk that had to be resolved. fuelled by – and to some extent tolerated by the occupation forces – means many women identify with their communal/ethnic/religious group for protection from the “men”. to work. peace. There is a cruel irony in the fact that the US. when what they have brought in is chaos. or simply to go to market and support their families. Which takes precedence? Women’s groups throughout Iraq. are being harassed if they attempt to mobilise and lobby for their rights in the constitution. Treaties. Women have also been instrumentalized by the new Islamist political parties who use women symbolically to break with the previous largely secular regime. And finally women are being used by the insurgents to express their resistance to western cultural impositions and occupation. And there is also the issue of the status of International Conventions. harassing and threatening women verbally and physically.” We all know that unless International Laws are enshrined in the Constitution. there is no hope for democracy. It was agreed last year before the referendum on the Constitution that there would be a three-month window of opportunity for a constitutional committee to amend the proposed new clauses once the new government was formed. campaigns and debates to take place. In the south and other parts women are forced now to wear the hijab (headscarf) and adopt conservative dress. Women and women’s rights are being instrumentalized by the US and UK government who promised liberation but have not actually supported women’s rights. and Laws in relation to Shari’a law. diplomatic. The increasing sectarian violence.

Act Together. and immense appreciation. ensure that women are engaged in peace processes.by SundusAuthor Abass and Nadje Al-Ali MonthYear Briefi TitleAng Paper for Parliamentarians Following House of Commons Meeting TitleB on 19 September 2006 government now distance itself from the US (which is one of only two countries never to have signed up to the CEDAW) and speak up for the human rights of over half the population? Also. management and prevention to consider the impact of conflict upon women. Women in Leadership Institute (Baghdad. we would beg you to remind the UK Government of its responsibilities under Security Council Resolution 1325 which requires all actors engaged in conflict resolution.Women’s Action for Iraq (UK) 25 . and that the new constitutions and laws accommodate the principles enshrined in international conventions and laws. chaired by Joan Ruddock M. would you be able to approach the All Party Parliamentary Group on 1325. To comply fully with 1325 (and we understand that the UK government has recently published its own Action Plan as a follow-up to the UN Action Plan on Implementation of 1325) we hope that the UK government will persuade the new Iraqi government to ensure that the constitutional drafting committee contains at least 25% of women in its membership. to bring this matter to the attention of the appropriate ministers? With very kind regards. Director. Sundus Abass.P. Iraq) Nadje Al-Ali. In this regard.

WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 26 .

And from the beginning of the 40s. brought a great number of women into the workforce. they need to get rid of the men and the women. both in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. Mubejel Baban All that time they were negotiating about who should be in the government. not just the women – you can’t have a country that has only men and no women. did you once hear the name of a woman. She was a women’s activist in Iraq in the 50s and 60s. Bdoor Zaki Mohammed is an Iraqi lawyer who has also lived in the UK for some time. We can speak of social traditions and customs. Mubejel Baban is an Iraqi who has lived for many years in London. it’s amazing. No. the women’s movement had its first martyr in the uprising of the Bridge – and everyone knows this. And in the 50s there was actually a woman cabinet minister. by the way. at that time. for women to study medicine or law in Iraq in the 30s.I mean if they’re going to ‘sterilise’ the country. but they were never that strict and they never rejected the role of women – for example. Sundus As early as the 20s Iraqi women in Iraq played a role in public life. were there any women involved in the talk? Sundus Abass & Bdoor Zaki Mohammed No. Sundus Abass is an Iraqi women’s rights activist and was in London at the invitation of Act Together: Women’s Action for Iraq. Mubejel Baban and Bdoor Zaki Mohammed.Transcript of a Discussion Between Iraqi Women in London. Sundus I mean. Mubejel It’s incredible. there was never any argument about whether women should be working or not. The economic boom of the 70s in Iraq. they should be ashamed of themselves. for example. It became acceptable. Iraqi women were active in politics – in 1948. women in Iraq in the 30s studied in fields which were usually reserved for men. is Iraq suddenly empty of women? Once I made a joke . Not at all. July 2006 This is a transcript of a 26 minute film edited from a 2 hour conversation between Sundus Abass. 27 . never any objection to giving them responsibility. or even to their working late at night. and then with the coming of war in 1980 the reliance on women grew – and.

She took the draft to the council of ministers. cigarettes or simple daily needs. and the wage he got was barely enough to cover his transport. and the League became legal. a minister in Abdul Karim Kasim’s government. They in turn. So that’s why when the revolution of July 14th 1958 happened. there was tremendous support for us. Lots of different powers are determining what happens in the country. the head of the Women’s League was Dr Naziha Al Dulaimi. And all this was down to the efforts of women. Iraqi women also had to deal with the psychological effects of war on their men folk. 1959. their demands and their problems. as 28 . 12 at night exhausted – but actually we didn’t feel weary – we just didn’t – we had all this energy . prepare everything in the house. A woman had to wake very early. but in Iraq. The Personal Status Law of 1959 Mubejel I was on the secretariat of the Iraqi Women’s League – there was a special committee formed and we invited women lawyers. born one after the other. find a place to leave the children.at that time. child custody – everything that concerns the family – from the beginning to the end. where the economic situation of the family was desperate. We didn’t have time to do everything we wanted to do – I remember I used to go out of the house in the morning – I had a job. broad-based committee – they brought in legal experts. but in the future. and so do men – law in general is something useful. to put together a draft of the law. They produced a draft and the Women’s League then studied the draft .and by the way. We were the one organisation which expressed the feelings of women. So we are not thinking about Iraq right now. Why is law important? Because when there’s law you know that your rights are protected. There is a generation of Iraqi men whose whole youth was spent at war. wills. and after work I’d go to the League offices and then there were meetings – different committees . established another. women were able to preserve their families – You know that usually in societies exposed to war and sanctions. women know what they have a right to. If there is a personal status law. in particular. So women had to be the breadwinners and this was in a situation of continuous wars and sanctions. divorce. 3 young kids. families managed to stay together and survive as a unit. They studied the draft and made a few minor changes – and it was passed and became law on December 1. inheritance. So. the law of the land is not being implemented – or only in a very partial way. go to work because she was the one supporting the family since the husband was forced to be fighting in the war. despite all the problems that people suffered.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 Despite everything. ‘Personal status’ covers what concerns marriage. values deteriorate and families start to fall apart. Law and the Family Bdoor We’re going through a difficult period. lawyers and judges.and I used to finally get home at 11.

nor a Sunni person because the law combines the teachings of all the sects. they were forced to go to a religious court and say they were changing to become Shi’as – in order to protect their daughters’ rights. So this law took what was best from each sect and incorporated it. some from the Shafi’i – from all the different Sunni and Shi’a teachings. all the different sects. dated from the 50s and has nothing to do with the Ba’ath regime or Saddam. If we didn’t change things for women now. So what does this mean? It means that all decisions about these issues will now be made by Shari’a courts. child custody – should be decided on the basis of the individual’s religion. but for the Sunnis. which covers marriage. sect or belief. she would only get half the inheritance – and her male relatives would take the rest. she will inherit everything. In the very first draft there was a provision that stated that everything to do with the life of the family – I mean marriage. It was completely the result of the efforts of Iraqi women and Iraqi lawyers. child custody etc – we won’t find it. women can inherit everything. which. if the parents die and they have one daughter. For the Shi’as. The final draft of the constitution was voted on in the referendum (October 2005) and passed. Immediately all the women’s organisations went into action – we tried to make clear to the constitutional committee the dangers inherent in such a provision. For example. as we said before. In our society we used to have a situation. which now exists and which there’s so much argument about. The Personal Status Law was a huge achievement taking a bit from each sect – so that someone from the Shi’a Ja’afari sect doesn’t feel oppressed.Author MonthYear Transcript of a Discussion Between Iraqi Women in London. So according to this law. We support this law because it is based on Shari’a. so I didn’t sleep all night – you’d just get one to sleep and one of the others would wake up. Bdoor The Personal Status Law. There was a real feeling of commitment and desire for change from these women. So what did this law do? It took the Shi’a stance on this question because this protects the rights of women. As Mubejel said there was a tremendous amount of work that went into the law – the opinions of religious experts from all the sects was sought. take inheritance – there’s a difference between Sunni and Shi’a with regard to what women can inherit. It meant in reality annulling the Personal Status Law. The New Constitution & The Personal Status Law Sundus The constitutional committee was formed after the elections (in January 2005) and began drafting the new constitution. which Sunnis used to complain about: if Sunni parents wanted to protect their daughters. and which a lot of people are trying to get rid of – this law was based on Islamic Shari’a law – parts are taken from the Hanafi sect’s teaching. and it contains article 41 which returns anything connected to our personal status to our religious identities and beliefs. some from the Ja’afari. And I never missed even 5 minutes of my work at the bank. it was going to be too late. As I said. July 2006 TitleA TitleB I said my kids were young. We really felt this was our time. Each sect has its own rules. divorce. we won’t have official courts 29 . there is no such thing as one ‘Islamic Law’. but takes the best from each part of it. If we want to look for one ‘Islamic Law’. and brought together in the law so that in the end it would be something to serve the whole community. divorce. In other words.

In one area a man of religion will say that a girl can be married at 9 years. was the one outlawing discrimination against women. Bdoor Actually even within the same sect. there are differences. she has to be 15’. for example. What is International Law? Sundus As the world developed. which is known as CEDAW. Sundus Say there’s a women who is trying to get a divorce or has a child custody problem. men of religion will have different opinions. So within the same sect you’re going to create these disagreements – so how is it going to be between the sects? And at the moment we are in a very difficult situation – there are people trying to divide us from each other – people trying to create divisions between the different sects and even within the same sects. for example. Bdoor The danger is not from people who really know the law – we are going to get judges who don’t even really know Shari’a law . Another convention is the Human Rights Declaration of 1948. people began to realise that they could work together and affect each other. And. Within the Shi’a sect. One of the international conventions. This deals with all kinds of discrimination against women. in the Aadhamiya area (mostly Sunni) – the ruling she’d get there would be different to one she’d get in the Shaab area just next door (mostly Shi’a) – because the whole thing is only dependent on the opinion of the individual man of religion who is handing down the judgement. Sundus All the political forces in Iraq at the moment are calling for national unity. for example at the UN. Each country had its own problems.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 anymore but will go back to the situation we were in before 1959 – which means that the power will return to the men of religion who will be making these decisions according to their own interpretations. These laws and conventions 30 .so they will make decisions however they please – and it’s not only women’s rights that will be lost. but there were issues that seemed to be common. the Maliki at 15 or 17. So it seemed a good idea to gather together legal experts from all over the world to try to put together laws at an international level. which would support the legal systems at national level and help the people in different countries to solve some of the problems they had in common with others. and she lives. but men’s as well. because as Bdoor said there is no such thing as one Islamic Law to which everyone can refer. Well. another will say ‘no. for example. the Ja’afari interpretation will say a girl can marry at 9. can you really hope to build national unity on the political level while you’re busy fragmenting life and undoing unity on a social level? You can’t build national unity without a solid base of unity on a social level. people saw that there were shared problems.

a teacher and so on – all of them educated professionals – well. the law punished a man who killed his wife or one of his female relatives with a 6 month sentence – or even sometimes only 2 – because this was supposed to be a killing to cleanse shame (an honour killing). and we don’t need to worry about things that don’t apply to us. this would all be dealt with. except for 5 provisions – and one of these was the provision that asked for any law that was not in accordance with CEDAW to be removed from the local statute books – which meant. Well. Bdoor Why should we refuse these international conventions? Take violence in the family – well. The government wasn’t going to change anything. So international law says it is illegal to have a law which encourages the killing of woman – and this is like Islam. the constitution outlaws this – so do international conventions – no violence in the family or in school – it’s a humanitarian issue – why should we be against it? International conventions don’t contradict Shari’a – we can take things from the conventions that are good and useful. brothers.Author MonthYear Transcript of a Discussion Between Iraqi Women in London. They are the result of international effort. an engineer. obviously 31 . Sundus Ours is a society which has gone through wars. of course. For example. there were 3 young men. they got together and they killed their mother. Iraq had signed up to CEDAW in 1986. July 2006 TitleA TitleB are not something produced by the West. But what happened was that international law was completely ignored. She was about 55 years old. it wasn’t realised – there was no implementation of international conventions. like everything else in Iraq. So in the new constitution there is absolutely no mention of international law as one of the sources of legislation – none whatsoever – no sense that an Iraqi individual should enjoy the rights enshrined in international law. had worked long and hard to bring them all up. International Law & the New Constitution Sundus There was support for international conventions in Iraq. We had high hopes that once the regime fell and there was a desire to build democracy. The Qur’an says ‘Killing one person is like killing everyone’ Islam doesn’t not encourage killing anyone. but unfortunately. that it was all show. provide for them and educate them – they killed her. We women believed that we could get the 5 reservations to CEDAW lifted and then we’d have something that could help to safeguard our rights as women. International Law Can Help to Protect Women Bdoor I’m a lawyer and I remember a case in the 70s. She’d been widowed long before. and Muslims and Arabs participated in the making of these laws. sanctions and now occupation. They killed her because they thought she was acting improperly.

These provisions which allow violence against women exist in Iraqi law at the moment and they are implemented. The psychological pressure in the family has that result. So imagine if we don’t even have the support of international law to help us fight against violence in the family and on the street. they say. and not out of support for them as women or because of their individual abilities. “it’s a matter of abilities. What is a ‘Quota’? Sundus The idea of a percentage reserved for women. at least I will feel that these issues will be discussed and will be given importance and that the country’s budget is not going to be entirely spent on weapons. As an Iraqi person. Women give greater importance to social and educational issues. we have a government which includes men and women’.” Well let me ask you this – are all the men running the country at the moment ‘capable’? 32 . The strange thing is that none of the governments since the fall of the regime – neither the transitional government. or the security services. It’s a problem for these women.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 violent behaviour has increased. for example. even Bremmer. Why does all this fall on women and why don’t they have a right to complain or object? I’m not even talking about how you increase awareness among women so they become more willing to talk about the violence they suffer – but legally – the law encourages men to beat their wives – and issues of honour and shame. their contribution to decision-making is important. Why? Because women tend more towards decisions encouraging peace rather than those encouraging violence and wars. Women’s participation in politics is important. by the way. Getting the quota created a new situation. is partly to help society get used to women being part of the decision-making process. thought to address these provisions in the law or even to discuss them. known as a quota. the women who were elected to decision-making positions got there through their political parties. It is interesting that the people who came to power after the fall of the regime. but it’s not her right to do the same – of course. heading the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) was against a quota for women – but there was a huge effort by women and some progressive men to get a quota. didn’t seem to believe in this at all. or armed forces. we only want capable women. I’m not asking for equality in this kind of violence. This is not just windowdressing – to say ‘look. if a man finds his wife in a compromising position it is his right to kill her. for example. there was just a shameful and laughable 3 women out of 25 and. especially in parliament. nor Bremmer’s government before it. they believe they got there because of their parties and they feel they owe a constant allegiance to the leadership of these parties. that’s not the point. So most of these women felt they owed their positions to these political parties. when it came to the constitution. but I am asking for it to be dealt with by law. I mean in the Governing Council. Bdoor There’s a slogan raised by some of the people who don’t want women to progress or take their place in the political process. So what happened is that many of the women elected to parliament actually stood against the demands of women.

The other thing we have to do is to raise the awareness of women. What Will Women Be Asking For? Sundus We’re under a lot of pressure. and different parts of the political process. the constitution was passed in the referendum. where your actual life is threatened at every moment. whatever. the constitution contains provisions. but has to do with the cruel circumstances of life in Iraq. In the context of this daily pressure. People are not aware of the law and women in Iraq don’t really know their rights. There is a period of 3 months . nepotism. then they will more easily be able to escape the dominating influence of their party leaderships. if they feel that we believe in them. Everyone has to take responsibility – everyone needs to take responsibility for human rights in Iraq. We need to work on the international level. Sundus I think support of the women’s movement for women in decision-making positions will help to get them out of the trap they’re in. but there is a period of time which has been allocated for amendments. actually. So it’s very important to raise people’s awareness of their rights. it sometimes feels beside the point to talk about duties and rights. as well. asking for the period to be extended to a year. We don’t want women to toe their party’s line – the party is using them. Iraq has been involved in international conventions. Why is it only when you speak of women does it become a matter of capabilities? We want these women who’ve been elected to be sensitive to the needs of their sisters . through all the pain. 33 . as we said. Amending the Constitution Sundus Despite all the efforts of the women’s movement. We’re. But there is a glimmer of hope. If they feel that they are supported by women outside parliament and the parties. Women in parliament need to feel themselves to be women first. before the constitution becomes law. This is not a matter of ignorance as such. it is part of the world community. and a voice for men as well – they should represent them both.how they can help them after all these long years of suffering through wars. which are against women’s rights. proposed by the Prime Minister. Also now there is a programme of national reconciliation. July 2006 TitleA TitleB People are gaining positions of power in different ways – through the parties. We want women in parliament to be a voice for other women. and there’s the terrible security situation – so it’s impossible to think that 3 months is going to be long enough to amend the constitution.from the appointment of a government and a constitutional committee – during which the constitution can be amended. there’s confusion between the party leaderships.Author MonthYear Transcript of a Discussion Between Iraqi Women in London. therefore.

not because we are a part of the government. or kill them. I’ll have no law. no army. and we’re honest. but because we believe in it. honourable people who love their country.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 The Women’s Movement supports this initiative. no – let them build the country. no economy – so if we really want to fight this occupation. we don’t want it. If I don’t make a constitution it means I can do nothing. But We Are Still Under Occupation Bdoor This occupation was forced on us. as civil society groups. 34 . we have to work to build the Iraqi state. I can’t do anything. Let them place a brick to help build the country and not throw stones at its people. The presence of an occupation doesn’t mean we do nothing. The most important thing in Iraq at the moment is to achieve some sort of national unity. but what we do want is to build our country. Every Iraqi who believes this. or form militias. needs to demand that the Personal Status Law stays on the books. but for the whole society so we can rid ourselves of this dreadful sectarian spirit which is invading our lives. This is important not just for women. Let everyone who is against this occupation work to build the country.

and publ basic needs. you are interested in supp Women's Will courses for women on r political party. the charity has sent pres leaflet continued overleaf. and we are often projects. But there is There are a few child psyc imi Contact: Dr. the disa ir and journal editor Contact: Hana Ibrahim. t together by This information was pu . there are new about how people are actu extraordinarily difficult circu alled ‘insurgency’. The parents can do dangerous world where their ren. compiled a very le outside. is very important ing there and individuals. For 10 year nt to Iraq. to feel a sense of solidarity now. ialising in child e is supply. therefore. new grassroots initia about our group and abou invited to speak at meetings ns. Said Al-Hash o. human rights abuses agai Obeid (director) Contact: Abdul Wahab Al yahoo. rights.com Email: freedom_voice1943@ Disorder Programme parts of the country. They set up wom women’s rights. employm n and the daily struggle for g women under occupatio g women. and only now are some spec much more demand than ther hiatric clinics. who ish a monthly journal calle ent. t Iraq. from Act Together.. by the occupation and with them history and. cha m enwillbody2004@yahoo. Bas s in children in their care. constitutional issues facin ppeared and miss of women prisoners. they suffer terrib in Iraq witness death and extreme re are only 60 psychiatrists Everyday Iraq’s children little to protect them.. are MPs and go on demonstratio do besides lobby their ensive sanctions in asked what else people can years of the most compreh mation the rest of the world by 13 exchange views and infor Iraq has been isolated from tic violence. the Post Traumatic Stress ed in Baghdad and other p of Iraqi psychiatrists. 35 .co Email: wom 662 41 5153077/ 5154979/ 5419 Tel: 0096 concerning the The Iraqi Women’s League branch) held workshops in London on women’s issues to discuss the in different parts of Iraq i Women’s League (UK The Iraq en’s groups titution. health. etc. drafting of the new Iraqi cons ting committee on behalf of titution and lobbied the draf cons Contact: Souad Al Jazairy m Email: sjazairy@hotmail. London N7 +44 (0)20 7272 9324 www. To be able to and chao . where they An Iraq-based NGO. They run are not linked to a particula d Women's Will. to co-operate with peop ent. Most of the information we get. We have for people in Iraq at the mom Please contact them if support.co Human Rights. They work clos This UK based charity was icines and medical equipme med ent. partial or collaborate on projects .acttogether. etc. A project started by a grou deal with post-traumatic stres teachers and parents to le losses and live in a programme aims to train violence. however the t deal in the med the endless violence of both There is a grea going on besides ally living and what else is mstances. Despite occupation and the so-c tives. the situation education. discuss the difficulties facin ing. and deals with general Freedom Voice Society for Council for Human Rights nisation is a member of the This Baghdad based orga nst Iraqis.Iraq You can help with some positive things there Act Together Leaflet Iraq – You CAN help with PO BOX 34728. tions based in Iraq or work l list of grassroots organisa initia orting their work. tells us very little CONTACTING PEOPLE IN ia about Iraq.com Email:saidalhashimi@yaho ugh to the Aid for Iraqi Children Medical s during sanctions and thro ely with set up in 1995.org 6XE some positive things the re.Women’s Action for Iraq ACT TOGETHER IRAQ . We.

Dr.u Email: info@maic. Jawad Al Ali is a child part of the country in the 1991 was dropped on the southern es in that area. & Director Cultural Relations y of Public Affairs Dept. It governme d. Dr Al Ali Depleted Uranium. ing from charities.http://www.co.co. justin@jubileeir Email: justinalexander@ Some individuals: Hana Edwar of Secretary of Amal NGO. trade unio g to work.uk Iraqi Writers Union s & information.uk.maic.provides rtant Iraq-based group repr An impo ( Press officer) om Contact : Hanon Majeed. they have ents to Jordan or Syria. issue of debt all over the worl Contact: Justin Alexander aq. Universit Basra 00 Tel: Mobile 00964 78910194 40624042 00964 Home University 00964 40412328 ber 2005 This leaflet was made in Octo 36 . security situation now mea shown in many festivals arou which have now been first completed student films soon Pachachi Contacts: Kasim Abid. This pollu o. one the few NGOs still doing humanitarian work in Iraq Tel: 00964 (0)7901919286 Adel Al Tai hdad Painter &Photographer. He and again in 2003.demon. fiction film production. maysoon@oxym Emails: kasimabid@yaho and Iraqi lved in lobbying the UN. The Academy of Fine Baghdad Tel: 00964 (0)7901443062 Thikra Monem Ballet Teacher.iftvc filmmakers in vision by 2 London-based Iraqi Independent Film & Tele re in Baghdad was started nth intensive cent offers one. to help young Iraqi short was slower than lighting.uk o. om or hanon-39@maktoob. documentary and ns and individuals.org/ College .com Email: jawadalali44@yaho Artists k of Contemporary Iraqi with Iraqi artists INCIA International Networ on exhibitions of Iraqi artists. a forum for exchange of idea esenting writers .org. is also investigating the effec lt of the recent wars and sanc tion is also the resu and its environs. though the situation and piecemeal fund of courses and are continuin been able to run a number In autumn 2005. Bag Tel: 00964 (0)7901730881 Dr Amar ers Head of Cinema Without Bord Arts.c il: hanon-39@maktoob. Baghdad 00964 (0)7901664778 Adil Hameed Raheem. ns bringing groups of stud nd the world.co. two or three-mo free-of-charge film-training This The college use of the security s make their own films.WLUML Occasional Paper 15 December 2006 ed training. May oronfilms. they had might be wished. the charity visit Iraq to find k Website: www.uk children’s health of is studying the effects on oncologist in Basra.org.com. boration between Iraqi and and seeks to facilitate colla Maysaloun Faraj. US Jubilee Iraq the el Iraq’s debts and are invo and with those working on d group is working to canc ps in Iraq This UK base has extensive links with grou nts and political parties. which ers and severe birth deformiti increase in childhood canc th of children in the city There has been a marked tion are having on the heal ts that other kinds of pollu tions. sound. provides contact information puts The London-based network non-Iraqi artists.org gmail. progress courses in camera. They track UK for additional specialis workers for ntly brought some to the destination and London-based ors in Iraq and have rece doct intended ts to ensure arrival at their every one of their shipmen out what is needed. Contact: Email:info@incia. Beca 2004.c Ema .

About WLUML Women Living Under Muslim Laws is an international network that provides information.wluml. UK Email: wluml@wluml. N19 5NZ. facilitating interaction. London.org Website: www. Occasional Paper 15 WLUML PO Box 28445. The network aims to increase the autonomy of women by supporting the local struggles of women from within Muslim countries and communities and linking them with feminist and progressive groups at large.org . solidarity and support for all women whose lives are shaped. exchanges and contacts and providing information as well as a channel of communication. conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to derive from Islam.

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