Violence against women increased in Kurdistan Federal Region

Violence against women in the Kurdistan Federal Region has increased, according to a monthly report released by the Kurdish government.

Violence Against Women, a special department monitoring women’s situation in the Kurdistan Region, stated in the report that there have been 13 cases of rape in the first eight months of 2013. Most of them occurred in Sulaimaniyah, the region’s second largest city.

In the first eight months of the year there have been 445 cases of violence against women, including suicide, murder, rape, and sexual harassment, added the report.

The Kurdistan Region has succeeded in passing a law limiting violence against women, but clearly when it comes to a mentality and attitude change, things are more difficult than the respect of a law.

At this point in time, in 2012, the report said, there were 170 cases of violence against women, 275 less than this year.

In 2007, the Interior Ministry in the Kurdistan Region established departments to address issues related to violence against women, after the region experienced a worrying surge in cases of murder and suicide among women. Currently six departments and 26 offices in the region work on these issues.

In 2011, the Kurdistan Parliament passed a law on domestic violence. The second article reads: ‘It is prohibited to any person associated with a family to commit violence — whether physical, sexual or psychological — within the family’.

In 2012, the Kurdistan Regional Government held an international conference in Erbil aimed to promote women’s rights and fight domestic violence.

According to Human Rights Watch, female genital mutilation in Iraq is practiced primarily by Kurds. A reported 60% of Kurdish women in Iraq have undergone the procedure. The KRG claims these figures are exaggerated.

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