Promoting Women's Rights in Northern Iraq
Project Description:This project involves the provision of social support services in underserved urban areas in Northern Iraq, in the large cities of Erbil and Mosul, and in outlying rural areas through a mobile social support clinic, telephone hotline, training in women's rights, a handbook on women's rights, brochures on family law and punishments for crimes against women evaluation of problems faced by women and the barriers they face in trying to overcome them, an advocacy program on radio and television, and a web site providing information about the needs of women, all tailored specifically for women , particularly women who are victims. Direct social support services will be provided for individual women. The progress of women presenting needs will be monitored to assure that assistance is ongoing as needed. We will train trainers and counselors to deliver services. We will provide group training programs for targeted groups of women referred from the social support programs for topics such as gender equality and human rights. We will publish a handbook and brochures about personal status law, family law, and punishments. We will create a secure database with information about the client's needs, to assess the needs of women in the community. We will monitor and evaluate the status of laws protecting women, and examine barriers such as corruption in the region. Finally, we will launch an advocacy campaign on radio, television and in brochures to promote women's rights, their access to legal services and the fair treatment of women.
Project Objectives:• To identify the need of women in rural areas of Northern Iraq for help in mobilizing to demand their rights.
• To increase the awareness of women about their legal rights and their familiarity with approaches and legal mechanisms that can be used to secure their rights; simultaneously increasing women's awareness of laws protecting them.
• To develop an action plan to identify the gaps (and where they can be filled) in legislative support for women.
Project Period:Start Date: September 1, 2010
End Date: June 30, 2011.
Donor:United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
From beginning of implementing the projects theses activate are being done:
• Seven workshops have been held in Erbil, Mosul and their surrounding areas.
• Booklets and brouchures were also distributed amongst the participants.
• We have created counselign forms to be filled in with client's information's.
• We have received cases and calls every week and providing services for the clients; psychological, social and legal.
• Data has been entered into the database which includes all the informations of the cases that has been recived through the hotline numbers.
• TV programs are finished.
• Monitoring of the workshops done by visiting the areas that the workshops were held in and some randomly chosen cases have been called to get their oppinion about our services.
• Focas groups done in 2 areas that the workshops done before.
• Preparing three Radio programs.
• Conducting a workshop for Police.
• Updating the database.
Caeses Recived through the Hotline:
• 33 cases has been received
“Promoting the rights of women in Northern Iraq”
Data on the victimization of women is scarce in the Northern part of Iraq, where women’s rights are not protected. Burnings, beatings and shootings are the most common ways in which women are injured. One government source reported that 52 women were murdered in Erbil and its surroundings in 2008. Another government source reported much higher numbers, with 163 women badly burned, including 91 who died; 77 cases were clearly manslaughter. Sometimes, the women even burn themselves is a last act of desperation. Estimations are that 100 women commit suicide every year in Erbil. These numbers are all severely underestimated, as they reflect only the deaths that were declared by the forensics examiners. Moreover, crimes against women are often hidden and the bodies are disposed of. Data from Mosul isn’t available, but it is thought to be worse than in Erbil.
This situation is due to the lack of legal protection of women in Northern Iraq, as well as the lack of awareness of the women themselves regarding their rights. Furthermore, even the existing rights are not well enforced.
Many women have come to WEO for help with issues such as early marriage, force high school drop-outs, polygamy, abandonment and failure to provide living costs, problems with inheritance rights, social security needs and problems linked to being a widow. No other services are currently meeting these needs in the northern region.
In cooperation with USIP, WEO is launching a new project to raise legal awareness and demonstrate the provision of social support services.
WEO wants to pursue women’s issues to identify their needs and the gaps in the legal support.
Raising legal awareness, especially in the rural areas and providing social and legal support will be two of the organization’s missions. The women’s needs will be identified and direct social support provided. Their cases’ progress will be monitored and WEO will use the collected data to identify the gaps that currently exist in the legal system. Finally, WEO will lead an advocacy campaign that will be reinforced by public communication of the women’s situation through several television and radio programs.
WEO will provide this section with regular anonymous information regarding the women’s difficulties and legal cases. Visit this section in the future for updated information.