High divorce rates and legitimizing the marriage of minors, a crisis threatening Iraq.

High divorce rates and legitimizing the marriage of minors, a crisis threatening Iraq.

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Marriage is a heavy charter, on which the pillars of the family are based. It also produces children, all of which require a degree of responsibility and awareness, and psychological and health preparedness to carry out these roles, but the family entity in Iraq is at risk of spreading a divorce that destroys society.
Statistics of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council showed that the number of divorce cases increased to more than 4,000 out of a total of 10,000 marriages in October 2017. Divorce cases have increased dramatically over the last 10 years, prompting judges and sociologists to warn against the danger of this phenomenon on the cohesion of the society, and attributed the reasons of it to the social and economic effects and the emergence of the organization “ISIS.”

Researchers stressed that theses figures mean 145 cases of divorce every day and six cases per hour, which means divorce every 10 minutes.
In recent years, there has been a very large increase in the rate of divorces in Iraqi society, which exceeded expectations and formed a dangerous phenomenon that threatens a social disaster at both the near and future levels, according to observers of social affairs in Iraq because of its repercussions and effects in the disintegration of families and the drawing of an unknown future to its victims.

Poverty leads to high divorce rates
The poverty rate in the country has increased by more than 30% in 2016, up from 23% in the previous two years. The poverty rate has increased after the events of the occupation of the organization (ISIS) of large areas of Iraq in the summer of 2014 due to the displacement of 2.5 million people from the provinces of the north and west of the country, while poverty exceeded 30% in 2016, after it was 19% at the end of 2013, according to a statement of the “Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation” of Iraq.

Studies have shown that the higher the rate of poverty in societies , the greater the cases of divorce , there is a direct relationship between them, when a poor citizen can not meet his family’s basic needs and spend on them, divorce is a solution to which they resort to it to reduce poverty , as in the case of Iraq, where there has been an increase in the rate of divorce due to poverty which is frightening, in the period following the occupation of the country.
The society is negatively affected by divorce cases, leading to insecurity and increased deviation. This leads to a high rate of crime, the spread of mental illness, homelessness, deviation, and low educational attainment, thus reducing the efficient working class, which affects the economic level of individuals and society and then led to the disintegration of societies and its collapse. .

The statistics of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq have shown nearly 700 thousand divorce cases in ten years in Iraq.

Divorce cases in Iraqi society have become the most striking, and they are raising problems among families, especially in the central and southern governorates, and there are multiple causes and one loss where the percentage has risen to a terrifying situation that threatens the social fabric and threatens the breakdown of social ties.

The specialists agree that the economic cause is the first reason for the high rates of divorce, and then the social, political and cultural factors, and the most important is the weakness of religious and community awareness, as well as a great absence of the role of the press and media, and those involved in educating the community about the dangers of this phenomenon.
There are main reasons that led to the increase in divorce cases in society, including modern technology and social networking sites as well as dubbed serial and other drama that call for excessive freedom of women and temperament for men in dealing with family and wife, including treason and non-shyness of any illegal relationship as well as the crises that have ravaged the country , leaving a large number of divorced , males and females , those have negative effect on the society . This is an indication of the disintegration of the bonds between the pillars of society, which results in a lack of social and religious awareness, in addition to the fact that there is a lack of social and religious awareness noting that the Iraqi society faced difficulties and violent tremors, negatively affected the simple citizen, and began to grow month after month, year after year, especially in recent years.
The dangers of increasing divorces call for community, religious and awareness-raising in the press and the media of its risk to the Iraqi family. The figure below shows the latest statistics of the number of marriage and divorce in the provinces of Iraq…


Marriage of minors in Iraq..
“The difficult economic, political and social conditions in Iraq have made the phenomenon of underage marriages common in large cities after being confined to the countryside,” which effectively means allowing minors to marry under the age of 10.
Iraq was one of the largest waves of displacement in the Arab region, especially in the provinces of Anbar, Diyala, Nineveh, Salah al-Din and the belt of Baghdad and areas of south and west of Kirkuk, where these areas were under the control of the terrorist organization (Da’ash) , forcing about four million civilians to leave their homes and displacement towards the Kurdistan region and other provinces, and the majority of them live under difficult humanitarian conditions amid the lack of resources, which forced many of them to work in different works .
According to the Personal Status Law of Iraq, No. 188 of 1959, the age of the maturity of the girl is between 17 and 18 years of age. The marriage takes place with the consent of the guardian responsible for the girl and the consent of the woman. The court gives the parties seven days then the marriage is done, and the court is the guardian of the girl in the age of Puberty if she wishes to marry without the presence of her guardian.
But the law has come to be disrupted as dozens of other laws after the US invasion of the country and the spread of chaos and violence.
“The organization has officially registered the marriage of about 500 minors in Baghdad and a number of provinces and launched a campaign to educate to reduce the phenomenon of marriage of minors who increased after the waves of displacement during the current year,” said Omar Abdul Latif, head of the Organization for Human Rights.
He added that “the government and the legitimacy courts do not registering the marriages, but by it is made by religious men who makes the marriage contracts with a paper signed by witnesses without passing through the legitimate courts.”
There is growing debate in the Iraqi street over the parliament’s efforts to amend the personal status law that allows for the marriage of minors, which is widely rejected by human rights groups and organizations.
This is the third attempt to pass a law authorizing the marriage of minors since 2003, after the failure of the previous two attempts.
The judge of the Personal Status Court in Baghdad, Ahmed al-Saadi, warned of passing the amendments in parliament, because “the proposed amendments are very dangerous because they did not take into account that the country is multi-nationalities, sects and religions.”
Al-Saadi pointed out that Iraq has international obligations with respect to the human rights file, pointing out that Iraq has previously signed international conventions that have become part of its national law and must comply with those laws. ”
Saadi said that one of the most serious amendments in the laws, marriage of minors.
Among the other amendments that the Iraqi Parliament is seeking to introduce to the Personal Status Law is to allow the husband to marry without the wife’s permission, and the right to custody of a two-year-old child and to force the wife to live with her husband’s parents.
A human rights activist and former Human Rights Commission member, Bushra al-Obeidi, said the proposed amendments “go beyond the judicial authority by allowing a request to the personal status court to refer to a person’s doctrine in some judgments, which means that the decision on some cases is through the executive authority represented by the Sunni and Shiite Awqafs (endowment) and thus abolish the role of the judiciary. ”
“Opponents will challenge the amendments before the Federal Supreme Court (the highest court in the country) in case the parliament passed them for violating the constitution,” she said.
Al-Obeidi criticized strongly the defenders of the passing of the la , addressing them, saying that you and ISIS are alike “If the proposal is approved , it ill provide a legal cover for some of the actions of ISIS and any lawyer can acquit them,” she said.
Al-Ubaidi did not rule out resorting to religious Marja and the Dar al – Fatwa, as one of the options, to stop passing of proposals to amend the law.
The Iraqi parliament’s vote in principle to amend the country’s personal status law raised angry reactions in the Iraqi street, which many considered a catastrophe in the field of women’s rights, reinforcing sectarian divisions and depriving women of the dignity and women are enslaved under the name of “marriage of minors.”
A member of the Committee on Women, Family and Childhood, the Representative Rizan Sheikh Diller, said that the amendment of the Personal Status Law encourages the marriage of minors, a “setback for Iraqi women,” noting that “the application of this law reminds us of the behavior of the organization ISIS with girls when forced young women to marry his elements while they were in Mosul and Syria.”
She considered that the adoption of the law and its subsequent application was “humiliating and insulting women at a time when the law allows the marriage of underage girls”.
Women’s rights activist Zainab al-Waeli said the law would allow minor girls to marry if they were nine years old. This is a major disaster for women, who will become a commodity to be sold and bought, and international intervention is needed to prevent them.
The law draft was met with wide objections ended with the intervention of the United Nations and a recommendation to the Iraqi government to withdraw the proposed law, and the United Nations Mission in Iraq, “UNAMI” intervened in the escalating debate on the new amendments.
In a statement, UNAMI called on the Iraqi government to take into account the rights of women within the proposed amendments to the law. (Anatolia)
MP Majida al-Tamimi wondered, “What does this girl understand to take on the responsibility of a family? Calling for teaching her , stressing that it will reject the law and vote against it, in addition to the majority of members of the House of Representatives.
Social networking sites have seen a torrent of sharp criticism, most of which began with caricatures ranging from discontent and ridicule from the age of nine years to the marriage of a girl.
Iraq will be at the forefront of countries in the list of early marriage, according to United Nations statistics, which expects that the incidence of marriage of minors to reach about 50 million cases in the world by 2020, and that this number will become 100 million by 2030, if things continue as they are.

Shatha Khalil
Economic unity
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies