Field report: Prevent Legalization of Forced Child Marriage in Iraq


To prevent proposed legislation in Iraq that would abolish a minimum age of marriage for girls and help end forced child marriage.


If passed, this legislation, known as the Jaafari Personal Status Law, would result in a life of domestic and sexual slavery for many girls. There would no longer be a minimum age to legally marry, and the law would provide policies for divorcing a nine-year-old, and a girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal on her behalf.

In addition, a girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and could not leave the home without his permission. At the time of the campaign launch, the legal age of marriage in Iraq was 18, and forced marriage was prohibited. Brave Iraqi women have been fighting to keep these laws intact. We joined this struggle by launching a campaign calling on the Iraqi authorities to vote against the Jaafari Personal Status Law.


On International Women’s Day 2014, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad to protest the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the Day of Mourning. Advocates sent 645,157 messages in protest of this law, and the Jaafari Personal Status Law was not voted on before the April 2014 election.

Our partner in this campaign:

Arab Human Rights Academy

The Arab Human Rights Academy (AHRA) is the first and only organisation of its kind. It is a non-political and not-for-profit organisation founded and run in London by the diaspora community with the purpose of defending human rights in the Arab world. The AHRA aims at promoting a non-violent and tolerant culture through research, education, literature, journalism, and activism; thus contributing to the creation of a vibrant, critical, and confident civil society that can hold both states and non-state actors accountable for human rights violations.

Girls Not Brides

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 700 civil society organisations from over 85 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential.

Members are based throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. We share the conviction that every girl has the right to lead the life that she chooses and that, by ending child marriage, we can achieve a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all.