Advocacy Statements

UN Committee to review the rights of women and girls in Iraq – MRG’s submission

Advocacy Statement |

The situation of women’s and girls’ human rights in Iraq will be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at its 74th session, in October 2019. The Committee will assess Iraq’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, that the country has ratified in 1986.

Ahead of this review, Minority Rights Group International (MRG), the Ceasefire Center for Civilian Rights and our partner in Iraq ASUDA have submitted an alternative report focussing on the challenges faced by women and girls belonging to minority groups in Iraq, including Yezidis, Christians, Kurds, Turkmen and Shabak.

The full report can be accessed here.

 

Recommendations to the Central Government of Iraq:

  1. Withdraw reservations to Articles 2 (f) and (g), 9 (1) and (2), 16 and 29 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
  2. Repeal or reform Article 41 of the Iraqi Penal Code, which grants husbands the right to discipline their wives; Article 128, which allows for mitigated sentences for crimes committed with ‘honourable’ motives; Article 398, which absolves perpetrators of rape from punishment if they marry their victims; and Articles 377, 378 and 409, which discriminate between men and women in cases of adultery.
  3. Develop a comprehensive domestic violence law, including clear definitions of violence, effective and deterrent penalties, and support services for survivors.
  4. Carry out prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into crimes against women, including crimes committed by members of the police, security forces, the PMF and other non-state militias.
  5. Improve efforts to implement the Human Trafficking Act No. 28 of 2011, including by establishing a database of traffickers and trafficking routes, training police and security forces to recognise the signs of trafficking, increasing efforts to identify victims and refer them to protection and rehabilitation services, and prosecuting offenders; and strengthen cooperation with destination and transit countries to improve mechanisms for fighting trafficking.
  6. Increase the number of shelters available to women fleeing violence and exploitation, and extend support to non-governmental organizations providing such services.
  7. Provide all police units with gender-sensitivity training, including proper interviewing techniques for victims of sexual violence, and establish protocols for providing rape victims with forensic medical attention and appropriate support services; and take measures to increase the recruitment of women in the police force, especially in units for dealing with gender-based violence.
  8. Work with the KRG to determine the whereabouts of women and girls abducted by ISIS.
  9. Provide adequate psychosocial support to victims of the conflict, particularly minority survivors of sexual slavery and children indoctrinated by ISIS.
  10. Raise awareness, especially in rural areas, about the legal minimum age of marriage and the right of women and men to enter into marriage freely with a spouse of their choosing; and engage men and boys in public awareness programmes to end violence against women.
  11. Ensure that all marriages are registered and penalize clerics found to be conducting forced and underage marriages outside the domain of the law.
  12. Simplify the procedures for registration for social funds for PWDs and increase fund amounts to reflect living and healthcare costs. Amend policies to ensure that women and girls with disabilities have equal access to social funds.

To the Kurdistan Regional Government:

  1. Pass a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.
  2. Work with the federal government to determine the whereabouts of women and girls abducted by ISIS.
  3. Improve the provision of services, such as counselling and psychological support, to women who have experienced sexual violence.
  4. Provide gender-sensitivity training to police, investigators, judges and prosecutors, including training on how to handle cases of domestic violence in an appropriate and sensitive manner and continue to increase the recruitment of women into the police force.
  5. Ensure that all marriages are registered and penalize clerics found to be conducting forced and underage marriages outside the domain of the law.
  6. Initiate proper investigations into all violent deaths and reported suicides of women and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.
  7. Provide educational programmes and skills training to traditional midwives to encourage them to cease the practice of FGM.
  8. Improve the quality of shelter facilities available for survivors of violence and reduce the barriers to access, including by simplifying entry procedures.
  9. Consider passing amendments to strengthen Law No. 8 on Domestic Violence, such as by allowing witnesses and third parties to submit complaints on behalf of victims of violence.
  10. Engage men and boys in public awareness programmes to end violence against women and ensure such programmes target key constituencies, including religious and tribal leaders.

CEDAW_Iraq_MRG-CC-ASUDA-2019

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