KRG Interior Minister, women rights activists address gender equality
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Rebar Ahmed, the Interior Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), on Tuesday met with representatives from the KRG High Council for Women and Development and the General Directorate of Combating Violence against Women as well as civil society organizations.
The meeting was part of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against violence against women.
“The meeting centered around assessing the status of women in the Kurdistan Region and exchanging views on strategies to enhance women’s role [sic] in community development and growth,” the KRG Interior Minister stated in a post on X.
As part of the #16days of activism against violence on women, I was honored to meet with representatives from @HighHcwa and Directorates of Combating Violence against Women #DCVAW across #Kurdistan as well as civil society organizations. The meeting centered around assessing the… pic.twitter.com/tHMRzi65cV— Rêber Ahmed (@RayberAhmed) December 5, 2023
Earlier in March, Prime Minister Masrour 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 practice. Yet the watchdog also found that of mothers surveyed throughout the Kurdistan Region, 4.3% said they intended to carry out FGM on their daughters in secret.
Yet the most pressing matter for Kurdish women is the prevalence of so-called honor killings related to infidelity and sexual relationships out of wedlock. In just two months in early 2022, the Kurdistan Region witnessed an alarming total of nine honor killings, prompting Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to publish a statement expressing his concerns.
"I'm deeply troubled by recent violence towards women in Kurdistan Region. I reiterate what I have said; there is no honor in honor killing," he said in Feb. 2022.