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some of the GFIW’s top leaders, who had been most closely affiliated with the Saddam Hussein regime, reportedly fled Iraq out of fear of arrest and (or) prosecution. In August 2003, an Iraqi newspaper alleged that Manal Yunus Abd-al- Razzaq al-Allusi, who was president of the GFIW for several years, had escaped to

Jordan along with her family, in order to avoid arrest by Iraqis.29 unconfirmed.

This story remains

Legal Rights

On December 29, 2003, the U.S.-appointed IGC passed Resolution 137, which would have overruled the Iraqi Family Law that has been in effect since 1959. Resolution 137 would have placed several aspects of family law, including matters of marriage, divorce, and inheritance, under Islamic law. It was reported that “Islamists on the committee [IGC] want to ensure that no law can be passed that contradicts Islamic values. [But] Many women fear that this would reverse the social and legal freedoms gained during decades of secular rule.”30 Following protests led by women’s groups and pressure by administrator Bremer, the IGC cancelled this resolution.

Despite the concern over women’s constitutional rights, there were no Iraqi women on the nine-member committee drafting the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), which was signed by the IGC on March 8, 2004. The TAL, which under the current plan will serve as Iraq’s interim constitution until October 2005, declares equal rights for all Iraqis regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or nationality. It considers the Islamic religion as a source, but not the only source, of legislation; also, no provision in the TAL can violate Islamic principles. The TAL also contains a provision calling for a targeted goal of 25% representation for women in the forthcoming transitional National Assembly.31 It is unclear whether this provision will remain in effect after power is transferred to Iraqi hands.

Critics of the TAL have listed several concerns with provisions dealing with women’s rights. They suggest that the TAL “offers no explicit guarantee that women will have equal rights to marry, within marriage, and at its dissolution; It does not explicitly guarantee women the right to inherit on an equal basis with men; It fails to guarantee Iraqi women married to non-Iraqis the right to confer citizenship to their children.”32 Proponents of the TAL point out that in 1990, women constituted less than 11% of Iraq’s National Assembly, and that the 25% targeted goal would more

29 “Ex-Women’s Union Head ‘Bribes’ her Way to Jordan,” Al-Da’wah [Iraqi newspaper], August 13, 2003, supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring.

30 Michael Howard, “Iraq: Divisions over Islam Delay Moves Towards Sovereignty,” The Guardian, February 28, 2004.

31 “Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, 8 March 2004,” [http://www.cpa-iraq.org/government/TAL.html] Note: Originally, the British government proposed a mandatory quota of 25% female representation in the government, an idea that was opposed by the U.S. government.

32 “Interim Constitution Shortchanges Women,” Human Rights Watch, March 5, 2004, [http://www.occupationwatch.org/article.php?id=3503].

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