Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Iraqi women’s rights have regressed during U.S. occupation

In an op-ed in yesterday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO of The Global Fund for Women, decried the back-sliding of women’s rights in Iraq under U.S. occupation.

According to Ramdas, the Baathists – while politically repressive – afforded Iraqi women greater freedoms than most other women in the Middle East. Under the Baathist regime, female activists advocated for, and secured, passage of a law gaurenteeing women the same rights as men in matters of inheritance, divorce, and child custody. The U.S. government, however, didn’t allow for input from prominent Iraqi women leaders during the development of the new Iraqi constitution, and consequently these gains have been rescinded.

Additionally, under U.S. occupation Iraqi citizens have reverted to religious factionalism that has often manifested itself in the form of brutal, female-targeted acts of violence, as evidenced by the increasing number of public executions of women carried out by Shiite and Sunni radicals.

Ramdas argues that the Bush administration’s failure to uphold women’s rights in Iraq constitutes a human rights abuse on the scale of the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib, and looks to the incoming U.N. Secretary-General to help atone for this chronic error.

For the full article, click here.


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