Kurdish Aspect covers issues related to Kurds and Kurdistan within the larger context of Middle Eastern concerns. The website offers readers a treasure of information as a useful guide to know how others view the Kurds. Kurdish aspect is proud that a significant number of contributors who have a deep understanding and experience in Kurdish history, culture and politics constantly write for the website. Kurdish Aspect also publishes the quarterly Kurdish Aspect Magazine."> A message from the Grave

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November 27, 2012

A message from the Grave

Kurdishaspect.com - By Thomas v. der Osten-Sacken

On November 26th a conference was held in Arbil, commemorating the International Day of Combating Violence against Women.  The Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government attended as well as members of Parliament and representatives from various consulates. Shanga Rahim, Member of Women Legal Assistance (WOLA), addressed this conference on behalf of the civil society and women’s organizations in Iraqi-Kurdistan.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, We are here today to communicate a message by Sakar and Negar, who were victims of so called honor killings. This message was written on behalf of all the 19 ‘sisters’ of Sakar and Negar (as they call them)  who were killed too during the last few months for various allegations in Kurdistan This is what Sakar and Negar wants us all to hear: Respected members of conference; we hope you would be able to genuinely convince us that you believe in women rights and that you are unequivocally committed to fight violence and injustice against women. We also hope that your gathering in this nice and decorated building will be used to engage in intellectual reflections, thinking and planning about serious future tasks. 

A demonstration held on 25th of November in Suleymaniah to commemorate these victims of honor killing

We hope that it would not be an occasion to only spend time and socially interact which result in unfulfilled promises as were the cases in previous experiences with such events.  We express this anxiety because previous commitments and promises were not effective in preventing the killing of thousands and the self-burning of many other thousands of our sisters. Our concern and anxiety is even more justified when considering the extent of other prevalent forms of violence against women in Kurdistan including polygamy, physical and mental abuse, female genital mutilation, inequality in decision making and inequality in the application of laws.  We are convinced that you are telling yourselves that the Law number 8 of 2011 related to violence against women is a magical cure for all the ills plaguing women issues in Kurdistan.  First, let us send millions of  salutes and congratulations to  all of us for the passage of that law. Alas, the lack of political  commitment, legal interest and administrative malaise is  recognized when it comes to  the implementation of the law.  Neither the courts, nor the  shelters, hospitals, police  stations etc. are interested in  or obliged to apply the law to  their cases while some of them  are unfortunately not even convinced by the need for such a law. Similar to the law number 15 of 2008 which legally improved the status of women and was and still is a great achievement too but is not implemented and applied in the courts and therefore it is no more than lip services without applicable benefits.  Unfortunately, the Kurdistan Regional Government, deliberately or otherwise is an active part of the violence and violations committed against women. The amnesty (general pardon) law number 2 of 2012 that pardoned many criminals who committed killing crimes against women is a stark example of the active contribution by the authorities in Kurdistan to killing and violence against women. We strongly demand the authorities to review their decisions and consider the consequences of their actions for women.  As civil society organizations, we argue that following this message from Sakar and Negar, we can and must work together to secure a better future for our generation and the next.

A future without violence against women can only be achieved through genuine and committed partnership and collaboration.  Thanks you very much for listening

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