KRG launches cam­paign to tackle vi­o­lence against women

PM Barzani crit­i­cizes KRG in­sti­tu­tions, women’s NGOs and re­li­gious lead­ers for not work­ing to­gether to fight gen­der-based vi­o­lence against women in Kur­dis­tan

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

As vi­o­lence against women in­creases, Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani launched a 16-day cam­paign to com­bat vi­o­lence against women on Novem­ber 25, 2013 at a con­fer­ence or­ga­nized in the cap­i­tal, Er­bil.

Nu­mer­ous women ac­tivists, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of dif­fer­ent pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions and in­ter­na­tional fig­ures at­tended the con­fer­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial fig­ures pub­lished by the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG), around 445 cases of vi­o­lence (in­clud­ing sui­cide, mur­der, rape and sex­ual ha­rass­ment) were recorded in the first eight months of this year.

Dur­ing that pe­riod, there were 13 cases of rape, mostly in the prov­ince of Su­laimani, the sec­ond largest prov­ince in the fed­eral Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq.

To mark the In­ter­na­tional Day to Elim­i­nate Vi­o­lence against Women, PM Barzani said that the use of vi­o­lence against women stems from a lack of se­cu­rity and within fam­i­lies.

It is not just a “women’s is­sue”, the pre­mier stressed; it is a prob­lem fac­ing “so­ci­ety at large”.

He called on the pub­lic ser­vices and rel­e­vant do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional NGOs to work much more ef­fec­tively to­gether to pro­tect women’s rights.

He de­clared that there have been some achieve­ments due to amended laws and ded­i­cated in­sti­tu­tions in Kur­dis­tan.

The KRG has thus far rat­i­fied sev­eral laws in or­der to de­crease the rate of gen­der-based vi­o­lence against women, but the rate has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

In the first eight months of 2012, around 170 cases of vi­o­lence against women were recorded by KRG de­part­ments, which is 275 fewer cases than this year.

Dur­ing his speech, Barzani crit­i­cized civil so­ci­ety for be­ing un­able to tran­scend their po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences.

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“There is a lack of col­lab­o­ra­tion amongst KRG in­sti­tu­tions and women’s NGOs, a lack of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ex­per­tise in com­bat­ing gen­der-based vi­o­lence, and the ab­sence of a mech­a­nism to im­ple­ment the nec­es­sary mea­sures,” Barzani said at the con­fer­ence.

He also crit­i­cized the role of re­li­gious fig­ures in prop­a­gat­ing anti-women and anti-KRG mea­sures, adding that the mea­sures are nei­ther “in line with Is­lam nor with the in­struc­tions of the KRG”.

To de­crease the rate of gen­der-based vi­o­lence against women, the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment passed a law on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. The sec­ond ar­ti­cle of this law reads thus: “It is pro­hib­ited for any per­son within a fam­ily to com­mit vi­o­lence, whether sex­ual, phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal, against other mem­bers of the fam­ily”.

Ad­dress­ing the at­ten­dees at the con­fer­ence, Barzani de­clared that vi­o­lence against women has de­creased in some ar­eas, but has un­for­tu­nately in- creased in oth­ers. He stated that he had com­mis­sioned an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fac­tors be­hind this in­crease.

He warned the courts against fail­ing to im­ple­ment the rat­i­fied laws and work­ing with Ba’athist leg­is­la­tion in­stead.

Re­gard­ing po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in such cases, PM Barzani strongly crit­i­cized the po­lit­i­cal par­ties, call­ing such ac­tions “con­trary to the law leg­is­la­tion” and “against the prin­ci­ples of the KRG”.

Fol­low­ing a wor­ry­ing surge in mur­der, sui­cide and self-im­mo­la­tion among women in 2007, the KRG’s Min­istry of the In­te­rior es­tab­lished sev­eral de­part­ments to ad­dress is­sues re­lat­ing to gen­der-based vi­o­lence against women. The cur­rent num­ber of KRG de­part­ments work­ing on the is­sue in Kur­dis­tan is es­ti­mated to be around 26.

Prime Min­is­ter Barzani speaks at launch of cam­paign to com­bat vi­o­lence against women on Novem­ber 25, 013 in Er­bil, cap­i­tal of the fed­eral Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq.

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