PM Kadhimi promises to do more to combat violence against women in Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al -Kadhimi a conference to mark the Islamic Day to Counter against Women in Baghdad on September 19, 2020 (Photo Credit:Twitter/@IraqiPMO)

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SULAIMANI — Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday (September 19) pledged to do more to combat gender-based violence in Iraq and said that officials should feel ashamed at the way women are treated in the country.

“We cannot deny that protecting battered women in Iraq at all levels is an incomplete task. We still need more fairness before we can say that we have granted women what they deserve in our society,” Kadhimi said during a conference in Baghdad to mark the Islamic Day to Counter Violence against Women according to a press release issued by his office.

Violence against women and girls is endemic in Iraq, with limited options for survivors to find aid or pursue legal recourse against their abusers.

A law that would protect victims of domestic violence has been long-stalled in the Council of Representatives under pressure from conservatives.

“Women are half of society in press releases, but not in moral practice! Women are half of society in poems, but not even in her home,” he added, criticizing those who put obstacles in the way of achieving equality for women.

In his remarks, Kadhimi praised the perseverance of Iraqi women during prolonged periods of conflict and for supporting unity in the face of sectarianism and argued that some positive steps have been taken to address the issue.

“With all our challenges, we are still proud of the high level of awareness of Iraqi women. We are proud that we have women ministers, deputies, and state officials and we are proud of any progress that is made on the road to granting women their full rights,” he said.

During the conference Kadhimi announced plans to form a Supreme Council for Women in Iraq consisting of panel of accomplished women, which will be tasked with addressing issues of equality and combating gender-based violence. The prime minister said he will chair the new group.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert also participated in the conference and said that violence against women in any form is unacceptable and cannot be justified.

She noted that violence against women had been exacerbated by coronavirus-related restrictions, which the UN has called a “shadow pandemic” of abuse.

“Regrettably, violence against women and girls is a harsh, everyday reality,” Hennis-Plasschaert said.

(NRT Digital Media)