The current anti-domestic violence law in Kurdistan imposes a punishment of one to three years of jail and a fine of 5 million to 10 million Iraqi dinars (approximately $4,000 to $8,000) for those performing or participating in FGM on minors.
But the draft raises the fine from 15 million to 50 million Iraqi dinars (around $11,000 to $38,000) for the same offenses.
“I believe it is necessary to make the punishments more severe so that people will be motivated to keep away from certain crimes,” said Faqe, a parliament member who has been involved in discussions to prepare the MERI-Ministry of Interior draft.
But some say that due to the sensitive nature of FGM, it is better if no attempts are made to change items that deal with it in the current law.
“Changing the provisions in the current law regarding FGM might actually lead to discussions in parliament that might water down penalties set for the practice,” said Tara Ali Arif, a founding member of the Women Legal Assistance Organization that has also prepared its own amendment draft.
FGM and the early marriage of girls might be seen by some as endorsed by religion. But Faqe, who is a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, said, “There is nothing in the draft that is contradictory with Islamic principles.”
She added, “Islam is not in favor of violence and calls for justice and equality.”
Arif sees it as necessary that the amendments limit the number of times that a victim can pardon the defendant, to one.