ENCOURAGING TRANSITIONAL NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF IRAQ TO ADOPT A CONSTITUTION GRANTING WOMEN EQUAL RIGHTS -- (House of Representatives - July 27, 2005)
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Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 383, to encourage the Transnational Assembly of Iraq to adopt a constitution that grants women equal rights under the law and works to protect such rights.
Frankly, it's no secret that the women of Iraq faced horrific times under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Women confronted terror on a daily basis and far too often lost their loved ones to the brutality of the regime.
Since the fall of Saddam's regime and the emergence of a new democratic government, the women of Iraq have made tremendous progress in reclaiming their rightful place in society. These women have overcome unimaginable obstacles and deserve our ongoing support as they work to build a new democracy.
I have been fortunate enough to have met with many Iraqi women during two visits to Jordan and Iraq this year. Despite finding themselves in a dangerous environment, their dedication to achieving a democracy is inspirational.
The elections that were held in Iraq were only the first step towards democracy and equality. Thankfully, the transitional government was committed to including women in the election process and ultimately decided that every third name on each list would be a woman's name. As a result, 31 percent of those elected to the Transnational Assembly of Iraq are women. These elected women are participating in the writing of the constitution which has a deadline of completion of August 15th.
But the women of Iraq continue to face obstacles. A current hurtle is whether or not equal rights for women are included in the Iraqi Constitution. Their inclusion or omission will determine the future of Iraqi women's rights under the law, status in society, and role in the government. Iraqi women understand this and want their rights clearly defined in the constitution. They realize that unless their rights are firmly established, their future is not ensured and it will be far too easy to strip away these rights. Women constitute 60 percent of the Iraqi population. Leaving the majority of Iraqis out of the Constitution will not only prove detrimental to Iraqi women, but to the future health and prosperity of Iraqi society.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and I strongly encourage the Transnational Assembly of Iraq to grant women equal rights under the law.
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