Anti-polygamy bill under consideration in Iraqi Kurdistan
The legislation, which is currently under consideration in Kurdistan’s parliament, would allow for the possibility of fines and prison time for male violators of the ban and less-harsh fines for female violators.
The bill also includes provisions that would grant women equal inheritance rights and make their legal testimony equal in value to that of a man. (Female testimony is only worth half as much under Iraqi law.)
Still the polygamy provision has been the most contentious aspect of the legislation. “I believe polygamy should be totally banned,” said Arez Abdullah, a member of parliament. Abdullah added that the current laws “are not in line with human rights principles or the protection of women.”
Runak Faraj, a leading Iraqi women’s right advocate who heads the Women’s Media And Cultural Centre in Sulaimaniyah, also supports the legislation, but warns that polygamy “has become part of the culture.”
Opponents of the bill argue that multiple marriages give women a degree of independence and financial freedom.
The bill stands in contrast to national Iraqi law – largely based on Islamic law – potentially complicating its enforcement.
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