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سەردانی نوێنەرانی ڕێکخراوی نەتەوە یەکگرتووەکان بۆ کاروباری دانیشتوان بۆ سێنتەری خوێندنی جێندەر

posted Dec 30, 2015, 12:05 AM by Kewan Omer

سەردانی نوێنەرانی ڕێکخراوی ( UNFPA ڕێکخراوی نەتەوە یەکگرتووکان بۆ کاروباری دانیشتوان ) بۆ سێنتەری خوێندنی جێندەر و توندوتیژی لە زانکۆی سلێمانی ,بەمەبەستی باس کردنی بواری ھاوبەش نێوان ھەردوو به تايبه تی بابەتی توندوتیژی وڕەنگدانەوەکانی لە کۆمەڵگادا وپلان دانان بۆ کاری توێژینەوە و ڕاھێنان ھاوبەش لە ئایندەدا ..
ئـامادەبووانی کۆبۆنەوەکە بەڕێزان :
خاتوو ناسك قادر / ڕێکخەری پرۆگرامە مروویەکان ئـۆفیسی سلێمانی و بەڕێز د. حيدر اسماعيل / شیکاری RH Reproductive Health
د.جوان بەختیار بھاءالدين بەڕێوبەری سێنتەری خوێندنی جێندەر وتوند وتیژی.


Why the Kurdish Fight for Women's Rights Is Revolutionary

posted Feb 22, 2015, 8:13 AM by Kewan Omer   [ updated May 5, 2015, 12:22 AM ]


SULAIMANIYA, Iraqi Kurdistan Region -- An equality decree, number 22 of the year 2014, unique in the Middle East, recognizing the rights of women in Syrian Kurdistan has prompted opposition from conservative Muslim clerics.

While the courage, audacity and resistance of Kurdish women fighters combating Islamic State jihadists in Kobani have made headlines in the last few months, Kurdish women have marked another revolutionary step by passing an equality decree that could guarantee their own rights within family and society. Their active involvement in fighting has not only seriously challenged gender roles, but also altered traditional views of revolution and politics as male enterprises. The equality decree is another form of resistance by Kurdish women against the Islamic State, which is known forabusing women's rights in areas under its control.

The Democratic Union Party issued its equality decree on Nov. 10, insisting on women's participation in lawmaking, and on the inclusion of "women's will and needs into legislation." It asserts women's rights to stand for and to hold all kinds of political positions along with respecting co-presidency in governance. In defining "principles of equality between women and men," its 30 clauses seek to establish gender equality at all social, economic and political levels. Most significantly it challenges patriarchal mentality in public and private arenas, criminalizing polygamy, forced and early marriages and so-called "honor" crimes, as well as disparities in inheritance rights.

The opening words of the decree make clear its purpose:

"The degree of progress in any society is tied to the active role of women and their participation in the edifice and development of society. It is with this aim and in order to ensure protection of their dignity and to achieve their freedom and rights that women have been fighting... From now on, women do not accept marginalization. A movement that liberates them is an invincible necessity in the fight against all forms of oppression, violence and homicide."


The equality decree's progressive line is seen by some as a direct challenge to Sharia law. Following promulgation of the equality decree in the Jezire Canton of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, conservative faith leader Mullah Kamaran from Suleymaniyaresponded, "Excluding religion from social, economic and political life, not only leads to thrashing the support of Muslims and Islamic scholars inside [your nation], but also results in negative effects and leads to reinforcement of Islamic movements as well as Islamist integration."

His view echoes that of a non-negligible proportion of Iraqi Kurdistan's society which shares values based on religion and tradition; Islamic parties in Iraqi Kurdistan Region, including the Kurdistan Islamic Union, the Kurdistan Islamic Group, and the Kurdistan Islamic Movement, hold three ministerial positions in the current government and 17 seats of 111 total seats in the regional parliament.

In recent years, Kurdistan has experienced an acute and often violent struggle between conservative and modernizing forces. Gender relations have been at the center of this transformation and struggle. Iraqi Kurdistan witnessed similar opposition from faith leaders when the Kurdistan parliament voted for the Combating Domestic Violence Law in June 2011. Since it was adopted, there have been multiple challenges to its implementation.

The equality decree, which carries the signatures of woman and man, has brought to the surface these sharp divisions between traditionalists and progressive forces in Kurdistan. Women's rights activists have defended its principles as an effective response to women's needs and requirements. They consider them an appropriate reflection of Kurdish women's experience in Rojava, and notably in Kobani.

According to women's rights activists, the equality decree challenges the traditional rhetoric of revolution, which has insisted on rights and liberty in the face of occupation and dictator masters. Many Kurdish women see it as a political program for women's status and role in the public arena and beyond the "secret revolution" of the Syrian Kurds in Rojava.

The "secret revolution," a term taken from the documentary by Darius Bazargan, refers to the governing experience of Rojava, Western Kurdistan. The experience started with the withdrawal of Syrian authorities from Kurdish areas two years ago. Following the withdrawal, Kurdish forces established three autonomous cantons and women have participated in both governance and resistance to Islamist forces, including Al-Nusra and ISIS.

Kurdish political forces in this part of Kurdistan have been trying to link the Kurdish national cause to the wider question of "radical democracy." As managing editor of the Harvard Political Review Gram Slattery said, "the Kurdish toleration of Jews, Christians, Agnostics, etc., their unwillingness to veil women, and their appreciation of secularism is apparently too much for some Sunni militiamen."

Kurdish scholar Professor Karman Matin of Sussex University, has described the Rojava model as unique in that it emphasizes grassroots participation, an egalitarian approach to gender and increases women's participation in all levels of social, political and public life. Women throughout Kurdistan are well aware of past experiences of women in other parts of the world who have fought alongside men and carried out different political activities in anti-colonial and independence wars -- and then been relegated to the domestic sphere as soon as the wars ended. Their representatives in Erbil, capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, have repeatedly told me that while they did not want to take Western feminist experiences as examples, they did not want either to repeat the experience of Algerian women during the war of independence or Iranian women during the 1979 revolution.

PYD female representatives in Erbil have told me that they would continue in their vanguard role both "at war but also peace time, against oppression at home as well as in public space." Their force of character, strong convictions and progressive political attitudes in the face of ignorance and fundamentalism have been described as "legendary" by Houzan Mahmoud.

As noted Arab feminist and writer Nawal El Saadawi said in a statement, "Kurdish women lead a war for freedom and democracy against oppression and subservience and tell the world that women are equal to men. They represent women throughout the world." Indeed women in other parts of Kurdistan and the diaspora have been looking to the women in Kobani as evidence of "a new hope" and an "aspiration for a real transformation of gender roles."

The PYD, a sister party of the left wing PKK movement, has sought to ensure the real involvement of women in polity and revolution. The party has a large number of women members and the equality decree is an indicator of its social and political progress. However, nurturing the progressive spirit expressed by the decree and turning it into a reality beyond the current situation will require continued vigilance and effort by women themselves.

Meanwhile, Kurdish women on the homefront face an equally intractable battle.

While some faith leaders will continue to oppose any move to liberate women from traditional roles and the subservient status at the core of their Islamist ideology, ultimately it will be up to women and their political allies who will win the battle for gender equality, personal liberty and human rights in Kurdistan.




























Experiences and Counter-Strategies in Iraqi Kurdistan and the UK Kurdish Diaspora

posted Feb 22, 2015, 8:07 AM by Kewan Omer   [ updated Apr 14, 2015, 12:37 AM ]

  • Nazand Begikhani, University of Bristol, UK, Aisha K. Gill, University of Roehampton, UK and Gill Hague, University of Bristol, UK
  • ‘Honour'-based violence is a form of intimate violence committed against women (and some men) by husbands, fathers, brothers and male relatives. A very common social phenomenon, it has existed throughout history and in a wide variety of societies across the world, from white European to African cultures, from South and East Asia to Latin America. The most extreme form of Honour-based violence - 'honour' killing - tragically remains widespread.

    Over the last decade, national and international efforts, including new policy development and activist campaigns, have begun to challenge the practice. Based on a pioneering and unique study, conducted collaboratively by the Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol, the University of Roehampton and Kurdish Women's Rights Watch, this book is at the forefront of this new and challenging policy direction.
  • Contents: Foreword, Fatma Müge Göçek; Understanding and challenging ‘honour’-based violence; Defining and responding to ‘honour’-based violence and patriarchal social relations; The context: Iraqi Kurdistan region; The nature of HBV and women’s voices from Iraqi Kurdistan; Media representation of honour-based violence; Honour crimes and Kurdish women in the diaspora; Issues for law, policy and practice in Iraqi Kurdistan; Conclusions: moving forward; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
  • About the Author: Dr. Nazand Begikhani, University of Bristol, UK, Dr. Aisha K. Gill, University of Roehampton, UK and Professor Gill Hague, University of Bristol, UK
  • Reviews: ‘The result of sustained and in-depth research on the part of the three authors and their activist allies, this publication is based on a study commissioned by the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq on “honour”-based violence in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kurdish diaspora in the UK. The book is a richly substantive contribution to a growing scholarly literature. A lucid reflection on this scholarship informs the authors’ situating of the scope and challenges of the project, which draws on “feminist perspectives, women’s activism and action research” to explore these forms of violence and strategies of response to them. The authors are to be congratulated for a distinctive effort.’
    Lynn Welchman, SOAS, University of London, UK

    ‘“Honour based killing” is culture-dependent but nevertheless a universal phenomenon that needs confronting. This book is an important contribution to the growing feminist literature on this subject, the first of its kind to focus on Iraqi Kurds. This is especially important these days when Kurdish women, in the Middle East and in the diaspora, are becoming more organized and are establishing a feminist bulwark against the rise of Islamist fundamentalism and its brutal oppression of women.’
    Nira Yuval-Davis, University of East London, UK


Why ISIS's treatment of Yazidi women must be treated as genocide

posted Jan 19, 2015, 12:10 AM by Kewan Omer   [ updated Apr 14, 2015, 12:35 AM ]

By Nazand Begikhani, Special to CNN

"I was hiding behind a water tank in the front yard and saw them killing my father and brother and [taking] away my mother and sister. I don't know anything about them since," says Dunya, a 14-year-old Yazidi girl.

"They put us in trucks and drove us to a big building, before transferring us to a hall across the road," explains Solav, 19 and also Yazidi. "Then their seniors came and started condemning our religion and asking us to convert to Islam ... They separated me along with other young ones and ordered us to stay there while taking away the elderly women.

"The man I was given to raped me several times and then left me in the room on my own. I was shaking from pain and fear in that hot room, my entire body sweating. Suddenly, another man came and did what he wanted to do despite me crying and begging him, kissing his foot to leave me alone ..."

Dunya and Solav (not their real names) now live with their relatives in newly-established displaced persons camps in Iraq's Duhok governorate. They are among thousands of Yazidi women abducted by jihadists during their attack on the Sinjar district on 2 August 2014. Since then, one hundred girls and women have managed to escape their jailers and rejoin their community.

According to our field work, which has involved interviews with witnesses and survivors, and based on other reports which have reached us, more than 2,500 Yazidi girls and women were abducted during the attack.

Women sold 'like cattle'

The extent of the ISIS brutality toward those women is unknown.

We do know from witness statements and testimonies by survivors that they have been systematically separated by age and physical appearance, forced to convert to Islam, and subjected to different forms of physical and sexual violence, including rape and sex slavery.

The jihadists themselves have confirmed these acts through their media outlets, such as the English website Dabiq, saying the acts were established aspects of Sharia, because they view Yazidis as heretics who should face conversion or die.

According to the spokesman for the Iraqi Red Cross, Muhammad al-Khuza'ee, the abducted Yazidi women"were taken as spoils of war and exposed at a market for sale".

The enslaved women have been treated like cattle -- complete with price tags -- and trafficked in markets in Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. Their "prices" have varied between $25 and $1,000. They were "cheaply sold" and mainly given to youngsters as a way to encourage them to join ISIS. Those women who resisted were killed, and some committed suicide.

These forms of violence are used as war strategies by the jihadists to subjugate the entire community, to inculcate fear, to undermine community and family structures, and to pollute the bloodline of the population.

Severe psychological trauma

Local authorities, in coordination with community leaders and activists, have been working on strategies to rescue and care for the enslaved women. These include negotiation with Arab tribal leaders in the areas under ISIS control to help free the women and ensure their safe return to their families, raising awareness, and preventive and protective measures to help survivors reintegrate into their family and community structures.

The rescue strategies consist of large efforts to liberate the abducted women; so far, around 100 have reached Mount Sinjar, where they now live in overflowing cities and towns, mainly in Duhok and Erbil governorates.

Officials and humanitarian organizations have been busy providing aid and care facilities via a health team of doctors and social workers, but they face a challenge: the level of need is much higher than that local authorities are equipped to deal with.

In addition to physical wounds, the women have suffered severe psychological trauma. The situation is distressing and requires an urgent need for explicit psychological as well as gynecological treatment.

The international community should take the case seriously and address intervention strategies with urgent implementation measures.

Since the ISIS attack, the Yazidi community has been subjected to horrendous crimes, including murder, the destruction of their homes, arrest and kidnapping, enforced disappearance as well as displacement, torture and sexual slavery, and desecration of their holy shrines. As Kurds and Yazidis, they are condemned as heretics and devil worshippers.

Acts of genocide

These acts are categorized as crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, but they are also acts of genocide: they consist of a systematic, intentional and well planned operation to eliminate an entire group because of its ethnic and religious identity.

The international community should mobilize resources and establish a fact-finding commission of experts to investigate and collect evidence from eye-witnesses, highlighting sexual violence against women.

Such timely data and documentation should facilitate not only the prosecution of those responsible, but also the international recognition of these acts as genocide. The process should also include support mechanisms for healing, reparation, compensation, preserving memories and the reintegration of these women into normal life, including much needed post-trauma support for victims and families after their release.

The Kurdistan Region is overwhelmed by the plight of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, with more than 1.5 million people living in camps and others still sheltering in community halls or being hosted by the local population or their relatives.

The Kurdish authorities are willing to cooperate with international agencies with the aim of providing all necessary aid to these populations, facilitating the prosecution of those responsible and the international recognition of the acts carried out against Yazidis as genocide.


Sexual violence as a war strategy in Iraq

posted Jan 19, 2015, 12:08 AM by Kewan Omer   [ updated Apr 14, 2015, 12:44 AM ]

"These are strategic theories of rape in wartime which have been deliberately practiced by IS jihadists in Syria and now in Iraq," writes Dr Nazand Begikhani.

In the last few days, while the world has been overwhelmed by the flow of information about atrocities committed by Islamic State (IS) jihadists, public officials and local media channels have confirmed that hundreds of Yezidi and Christian women have been abducted, some of them buried alive and others subjected to rape and sexual slavery.  

On 2 August, the IS attacked Sinjar and its surrounding areas, inhabited for more than 4000 years by peaceful Yezidi community, who practice a faith reminiscent of Zoroastrianism. Later in the week, the attacks were extended to other areas in the Nineveh plain, including Qaraqosh, Iraq’s Christian capital. The jihadists have murdered thousands of civilians, buried some alive in mass graves, burnt their homes, pillaged and destroyed their holy shrines, prompting a mass exodus.

We have seen long columns of women, men and children fleeing their homeland, trapped in barren Sinjar Mount without basic necessities and vital supplies and facing death. Many children have already died; on the second day of the invasion, UNICEF reported that the children died as a “direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration".

Despite airdrops of humanitarian aid, the number dying continues to increase. Disturbing images of these crimes have been posted through social media. We have become witnesses to these atrocities, but an equally horrendous crime has gone largely unreported by the  international and mainstream media: the abduction of women, their rape and sexual slavery.

According to an Iraqi lawmaker of Yezidi origin Vian Dakhil, who addressed the Iraqi parliament last week, with tears in her eyes, “IS militants have abducted five hundred Yezidis women”. Later the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry indicated that families of the captives had contacted them to report the abduction of their womenfolk.

Erbil-based media network Rudaw was one of the few local media channels that quoted eyewitnesses who survived the attack saying “hundreds of women were kidnapped and transferred by IS jihadists to an unknown place in Mosul”.

The whereabouts of the kidnapped women became known when the head of the Women’s Rights Commission at the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament, Evar Ibrahim, confirmed on Tuesday 6 August that “the number of kidnapped Yezidi women had reached five hundreds, and they were transferred to a sports hall opposite to the Nineveh Palace Hotel in Western Mosul”. She added that the women were kept in “distressing conditions”. Later, when Qaraqosh was invaded by jihadists, local media channels reported that Christian women had also been taken captive.

What has happened to those women? According to media reports, some were buried alive. On 6 August, a spokesman for the Iraqi Red Cross, Muhammad al-Khuza’ee, stated that the Yezidi and Christian women “were taken as spoils of war and exposed at a market for sale”. The women were reportedly subjected to sexual assault, gang rape and sexual slavery. By all definitions, these are highly militarized forms of crimes.

It is not the first time that women have been subjected to such treatment by militia groups. In wartime circumstances, even when the army of the state is involved, women are not only taken as “spoils of war”, as the media put it, but their bodies have been used as a terrain of war. As so often happens in ethnic and sectarian conflicts they are raped and subjected to sexual slavery by their attackers as part of ethnic cleansing strategy. The ultimate aim of such acts is to weaken the integrity of the community.

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In the case of the Yezidis, a coherent community that numbers an estimated 500,000, these forms of violence are used to subjugate the entire community, inculcate fear, undermine community and family structures, deliberately pollute the bloodline of the population, as well as to contribute to bonding of the perpetrators through the common act of rape. These are strategic theories of rape in wartime which have been deliberately practiced by IS jihadists in Syria and now in Iraq.

Although members of the IS organization come from different backgrounds with different cultures, experiences and histories, which might influence or even inhibit the behaviour of each individual, the group’s repertoire indicates that these patterns of sexual violence have been developed as part of the strategic aims of the IS. What is more, because in the Syrian and Iraqi societies, like most of the Middle East, women are generally perceived as carers and reproducers of their community, the jihadists seek to strengthen their control, split up and destabilise unified groups and stigmatize the women through abduction and rape.

This strategy sends a message to and instils fear among the other ethnic and religious minorities they seek to conquer. In the last few days, many parents, mainly men, who fled their homeland prior to the attack in Makhmur and Khzar, near Erbil, have been in a moral panic. They told me their main fear concerned the female members of the family. They didn’t want them to be captured by IS militants, “who will gang rape them”. One man repeatedly told me he did not mind being killed himself, but was frightened by the idea of his daughters and his wife being taken by IS jihadists. There have been reports of families throwing their children from the mountain to protect them from falling into the hands of the jihadists.

The despicable acts of the jihadists have many other consequences, not least the psychological and emotional damage which have to be overcome if the survivors are to heal and reintegrate into normal life. In the context of the Middle East in general and Iraqi as well as Kurdish communities in particular, the survivors face more dramatic consequences, because women’s bodies and sexuality embody family/collective honour. They risk murder at the hands of male members of their family and the community to preserve the group’s collective honour. If the women fall pregnant, their babies also risk death. Such violence, especially rape, can also be detrimental to perpetrating communities in the longer term; the anger desire for revenge it generates can last for generations.

All military conflicts involve principles of violence and are destructive, but capture of women, rape and sexual slavery are one of the most destructive aspects. Abduction and sexual violence in conflict are crimes against humanity and have been recognised by the UN Security Council as a threat to world peace and security. Recognition came when the UN adopted Resolution 1820 in June 2008. These crimes are not committed against individual women, but are used as a tactic of war and that requires international mobilization at state and organizational levels.

Such a mobilization should take numerous forms, including: immediate and effective intervention to stop the crimes; recognition by media channels and state agencies that women's lives and their bodies are unacknowledged casualties of war; interventions to change the general culture and attitudes towards women and sexuality with public awareness programmes about consequences for individual and community health of sexual and gender-based violence. Finally, an end to impunity, with individuals as well as militia organizations and their leaders being held fully accountable for their crimes and punished accordingly.





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