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Thursday, 26 November 2015 09:06

16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence Launched

Baghdad, 25 November 2015 - Iraq joined the United Nations and the rest of the world today to mark the start of the world campaign for 16 Days to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence. The campaign continues until 10 December when the world celebrates Human Rights Day. The 16 days against gender-based violence puts the human rights of women and girls at the center of world and Iraqi attention.

“When women suffer from violence, it means that half of the society does not respect itself,” said Ms. Intisar Al-Jobouri representing the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament at a high-level conference in Baghdad, organized to kick-start the campaign. “Women and men must be equal. Women must be enabled to fly with both wings, not just with one,” she added.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, praised the steps being taken by the Government of Iraq to promote women’s empowerment including the law against trafficking adopted in 2012, the National Strategy on Combating Violence Against Women endorsed in 2013, and the National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security passed in 2014. Ms. Grande said “With so much happening in Iraq, and with so much happening to women and girls, the focus now has to be on turning these plans, policies and legislation into action.”

The impact of conflict, insecurity, impunity, collapsing economic conditions and rising radicalization and extremism impact directly on Iraqi women’s daily lives making them highly vulnerable to violence inside and outside their homes. At least 1 in 3 women worldwide suffer physical or sexual violence.

“We have the obligation to take action. When we witness violence against women and girls we must speak out, demanding it to stop and justice for the victims and prosecution of the perpetrators,” Ms. Grande said.

On her part, the Head of UN Women in Iraq, Dr. Hiba Qasas said “We all share the deep pain at hearing of the plight of thousands of women and children who have been the victims of horrific violations of their human rights at the hands of Da’esh (ISIL)”.

Iraqi women are often on the frontline in crisis situations, holding families and communities together. “Women are on the frontline calling for national reconciliation and countering all forms of radicalization and extremism. The UN resolutions on women, peace and security demand the recognition of women as agents of change. It is not just their right, it is also better for stabilization and lasting peace. The whole society benefits from women’s inclusion and empowerment,” Dr. Qasas said.

“Women and girls are often on the first targets of attack by violent extremists. Their rights and role on countering violence and extremism must be front and center of finding solutions to this immense challenge,” Qasas added.

Baghdad Mayor, Dr. Dhikra Al-Wash raised the economic cost to society saying no effort must be spared in eliminating harms to women. She called for greater monitoring of violence against women and services for victims.

UN Women and Iraqi women will continue the women’s human rights dialogues over the following two days to develop a plan of action.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI

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