Iraq ready to legalise childhood marriage

By Damien McElroy

Children under nine years old could be legally married and wives forced to comply with sexual demands under newly tabled legislation described by critics as a setback for women’s rights.

Children in Iraq could be legally married before the age of nine under sweeping legislation tabled on Tuesday that introduces new religious restrictions on women’s rights.

As almost its last act before elections at the end of the month, the Iraqi parliament looks likely to pass new marital rules for its majority Shia community with a draft law criticised by human rights activists as “legalised inequality”

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