Against the polygamy law in Kurdistan Iraq

On 27 October 2008, the Kurdistan Parliament brought the new Personal Status Law (PSL) in affect which did not ban polygamous marriage laws as hoped for. The new law continues to perpetuate the history of polygamy which is tied directly to the subjugation of women.

Over the last 17 years of Kurdish self-rule some of most barbaric violations of women’s rights have continued and continue to effect the lives of over two million women in Kurdistan Iraq. Womens and girls continue to be subjected to forced marriage, child marriage, female gential mutilation, domestic violence as the norm and honour killing. All of these violations of women’s rights to be free of inhuman and degrading treatment not to mention the right to life have been met by almost complete silence by the Kurdish government.

Now rather than legislating in favour of women’s rights, the Kurdish Parliament has approved a new Islamic law which continues to endorse polygamy and continues to violate the basic principles of equality between men and women as understood in International Law.

The Kurdish Parliament has accepted the argument that polygamy is a realistic answer to improving the lives of widowed and divorced women.

Kurdistan Refugee Women’s Organisation (KRWO) demands that the Kurdish Parliament legislates against polygamy and recognises its responsibility to ensure that women are given the tools and the means to provide for themselves and are not forced into marriage for purely economic reasons. Providing women with job opportunities or welfare benefits would enable not only widowed and divorced women to live independently in dignity but would empower ALL women to make meaningful lives of their own choice.

KRWO and many other women’s rights organisations will continue to actively campaign against this discriminatory law and replace it with a truly progressive law that recognises the human rights principles of human dignity and freedom.

KRWO Press Release December 2008

Kurdistan Refugee Women’s Organisation


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