Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Honor killings on the rise in Iraqi Kurdistan

Violence against women in Iraq’s Kurdistan region is in the spotlight after the recent death of Shawboo Rauf Ali, 19, who was murdered by her husband and several other men upon suspicion of extra-martial relations, according to Inter Press Service.

Her death is only one among a number of “honor killings” that have been increasing since 2006, according to a Kurdistan parliament report. Most of the victims are married women.

A variety of factors have contributed to the rising violence in the region. “Honour has been the prime motivator of violence against women, because in such a patriarchal society women are considered the honour of their men,” Hawjin Hama Rashid, a woman activist in Erbil told IPS. “I believe that today honour has become a new weapon of mass destruction.”

Others cite the leniency of authorities and corruption as factors – despite the Kurdish government’s claim that it has already taken “decisive measures” against honor killings.

Additionally, the war in Iraq has significantly influenced the economic and social climate in Kurdistan, in particular the status of women. Kurdish women’s new independence and social openness has spurred some more conservative elements of society to impose restrictions.

And while women’s rights now hold a prominent place in public discourse, activists fear that the region will not see major change in the near future.

For the full article, click here.


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