The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) released a new report on the human rights situation in Iraq. According to the summary, gender based violence remains one of the “key unaddressed problems throughout Iraq.” Honor killings, female genital mutilation and even female self-immolation have occurred with problematic frequency over the last year.
UNAMI has reported 139 cases of gender based violence 15 in the last six months of 2008 in five governorates in northern Iraq16. Out of the total number, 77 women were seriously burned, 26 were victims of murder or attempted murder and 25 were cases of questionable suicide.
UNAMI… has been alerted by local advocates for women’s rights in the [Kurdish Regional Government] of the frequency of the so-called “honour killings” and cases of female self-immolation in the Kurdish region, despite efforts from the KRG to raise public awareness regarding violence against women. In cases reported to UNAMI, women have been attacked, wounded and left to die and the death characterised as “accidental” by family members. For example, in the village of Pangeen Qushtapa sub-district), 16-year-old Kanyaw Maghdid and her sister 22-year-old Lafaw were shot by their father on 23 September. Lafaw told police that her father shot his daughters to “protect their honour” when he found out about the relationship one was having with a boy.Kanyaw died on the spot while Lafaw was admitted to a hospital but later died. At the writing of this report, an investigation has been open but no arrest made yet. It has also been reported to UNAMI that the suspected killer of D’waa Aswad Khalil, a 17-year-old Yezidi girl publicly stoned to death in April 2007 in the village of Bahzan in the Ninawa governorate17 was seeking traditional reconciliation with the victim’s family to avoid criminal charges.