Women's freedoms increasing in Kurdistan Region, says KRG Interior Minister
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Rebar Ahmed, the Interior Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), on Sunday in Erbil delivered a speech celebrating the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism international campaign at the Going Orange event organized by various Erbil diplomatic missions.
16 Days of Activism is a UN-organized women's right campaign that seeks pursuit of greater protection of women and prevention of gender-based violence (GBV). It is observed annually from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10.
The minister stated that the rights of women and girls, including their protection and involvement in senior, decision-making government roles, have received special attention from Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and the government’s Ninth Cabinet administration.
“Notwithstanding shortcomings, women's rights and freedoms have increased in the Kurdistan Region, and their situation has generally improved,” Ahmad added and noted “It is still necessary for us to combat improper traditions. The KRG has worked hard to end violence against women in spite of the crisis we face."
Moreover, the minister said several articles and laws regarding women have been issued and amended in compliance with international norms.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Barzani on Nov. 25 reiterated his cabinet’s commitment to safeguarding Kurdish women’s rights and combating gender-based violence.
Earlier in March, Barzani held a conference marking the occasion of International Women’s Day. There, the KRG’s High Council for Women and Development signed a memorandum of understanding with the UN to coordinate on women-related matters.
Despite progress, the Kurdistan Region still has a historical stigma associated with female genital mutilation (FGM), albeit the conservative practice is not seen as prevalent in today's more secular Kurdish society, with strict laws in place outlawing it.
Headway has been made, such as in Feb. 2020, when a human rights watchdog declared the Garmiyan administration had completely eradicated the cruel practice. Yet the watchdog also found that of mothers surveyed throughout the Kurdistan Region, 4.3% said they intended on carrying out FGM on their daughters in secret.