Kurdistan hosted an International Conference on Women and Human Rights

The conference’s main theme was woman rights against the backdrop of violence and war.

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region (K24) – In honour of the United Nations-sponsored 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (November 25 through December 10) an international conference was held in Sulaimani on Tuesday.

The conference’s main theme was woman rights against the backdrop of violence and war.

Panel discussions revolved around bringing back the abducted Yezidi children, the battle against domestic violence, and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Ivar Ebrahim the head of the Women’s Rights Committee in Kurdistan Parliament said that even though the situation of women in the Kurdistan Region is far better than that of women in the rest of Iraq, there are still a lot of unresolved issues.

The head of the Women’s Rights Committee in Kurdistan Parliament mentioned three main causes for women’s issues in Kurdistan region: “The financial crisis that Kurdistan region is facing now, the ongoing war with ISIS, and the significant increase in the number of refugees that we are hosting have worsened women’s situation in our region,” Ibrahim told K24.

1.8 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) currently reside in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region which make up a sudden 30% increase of the population. This abrupt change has put enormous pressure on the economy, electricity, infrastructure, and almost all aspects of life in the Kurdistan Region.

Hiba Qasas, UN Programme Advisor for Arab States, was present at the conference. She said UN Women for Peace is ready to support those who are working to eliminate violence against women.

“We will be supporting the leadership of women in Kurdistan Region,” Qasas told K24.

She emphasised that UN Women for Peace Committee has been really concerned about the kidnapping of Yezidi women. “That really broke our hearts,” she said.

The University of Sulaimani in the Iraqi Kurdistan region hosted the conference which was attended by women from the Kurdistan Region, the rest of Iraq, and from abroad.

Approximately 150 academics, activists, journalists, politicians and concerned citizens attended the conference.

Holding international conferences such as this is one of the many steps that activists in the Kurdistan region are taking to improve the pressures on the body and mind of the women.