Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mobile phones contributing to violence against women and honor killings in Iraq

Mobile phones have become a new threat to young women’s safety in Iraq’s northern region of Kurdistan, where members of parliament and women’s rights advocates are pushing for legislation that would protect victims and punish perpetrators of this new type of abuse, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting said Wednesday.

Beginning in 2004, cases began to emerge where women were being recorded – in photos and audio and video clips – with cell phones by their boyfriends during intimate situations. When these clips were released to the public or to relatives, assaults against the women sometimes followed. By 2006, 170 cases were reported. In 2007, nearly 350 women were the victims of mobile phone related violence.

The fact that a large number of cases have been reported in Iraqi Kurdistan is at odds with progressive reputation the region enjoys. But according to rights activists, the rise in mobile phone abuse is simply part of a larger pattern of honor crimes against women in the north.

“Women and girls in Kurdistan live in a dangerous situation because they are attacked on a daily basis in the name of honor,” said Najiba Mahmood, a women’s activist and head of Civilization Development Organization, a local NGO in the region. “No one is defending them.”

The video, audio, and photos of women being distributed via mobile phones “is the worst problem for women and girls,” she added. “If it is not solved, many more crimes will be carried out under the name of protecting honor.”

For the full article, click here.


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