Follow Christiane on social media:

On Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Amanpour producers on Twitter

What time is Amanpour on CNN?

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Iraqi activist: Women's rights must be focus for new parliament

March 9th, 2010
06:44 PM ET

Watch the complete interview with three women from the Middle East on our podcast.


Watch the complete interview with three women from the Middle East on our podcast.

By Tom Evans;  Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

(CNN) - Even as votes are counted in Iraq's general election, a leading human rights activist in Baghdad said Monday that she is counting on the new parliament to defend and develop women's rights.

Basma al-Khateeb, of the Iraqi Women's Network, said it was vital for Iraqi legislators of both genders to defend the Iraqi "Law of Personal Status," which protects women and families, and limits the influence of religious courts.

"It's considered one of the most advanced family laws in the region. It's based on Sharia law, but takes the best (of it) for the benefit of women and family," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on International Women's Day.

"The Personal Status Law paved the way to mixed marriages, to more rights for women - and we need to develop it."

// Her remarks came after Sunday's vote - the first parliamentary elections in Iraq since 2005. There were nearly 2,000 female candidates, and by law women must make up 25 percent of the new legislature.

Preliminary election results are expected later this week. Final results are due by the end of March.

Al-Khateeb said the 25 percent quota was a "double-edged sword" for women because political parties choose candidates who are not trained or outspoken, and who will do as they are told.

FULL POST

Posted by
Filed under:  1 • Iraq