It is not easy to welcome the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25, while we are witnessing a frightening rise in the rates of violence in Iraq. Iraqi households are still witnessing terrifying manifestations of violence, the first victims of which are women. Every day we are shocked by more grave threats to women’s lives and, at the same time, to the future of the Iraqi family. This is taking place under a major and evident failure to develop and take deterrent measures to criminalize the perpetrators of crimes of violence against women and girls and to hold them accountable in a manner that puts an end to them.
For years, we have been striving to unite efforts to ensure the optimal form of Iraqi women’s rights through initiatives launched by the women’s movement to promote fair and broad participation of women in decision-making positions as a step towards abolishing manifestations of discrimination and exclusion at several levels. This would contribute to the abolition of all legislations that include provisions that perpetuates violence that violate the dignity of women and their legitimate rights. We are striving as advocates to expedite the enactment of a law that protects the family from violence, with the need to put in place mechanisms that guarantee its implementation. Furthermore, there need to be national mechanisms that ensure protection and prevention from manifestations of violence in all its forms.
While marking this day, we must work to build a society that enjoys peace and stability. This requires protecting the Iraqi family from violence, deprivation and exploitation. It includes ridding it of dangerous practices that aim to exploit women, violate their dignity, and traffic women. This is a result of customs such as underage marriage, trading women to settle tribal disputes and honour crimes that are imposed by tribal customs that violate the humanity of women and girls.
The Iraqi Women’s League and all organisations, networks and personalities defending women’s and human rights need to unite efforts and create a societal force that addresses all manifestations of violence, insisting on imposing respect for women and protecting them from violence. This includes abolishing all manifestations of discrimination and mobilizing awareness campaigns to promote equality in human rights for women. Policies of marginalization and exclusion must be ended by increasing the participation of women at all levels without discrimination. The relevant authorities must be pressed to implement the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). These include speeding up the enactment of the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence, provided that it includes effective deterrent measures to save innocent lives, the family and society from the scourges of violence and its causes.
Iraqi Women’s League
24 November 2022