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Saturday, 28 November 2015 03:00

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign Launches in Kurdistan with Focus on Education

Erbil, 28 November 2015 – Kurdistan Region joined the United Nations and the rest of the world on Thursday, 26 November, to mark the start of the world campaign for 16 Days to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence. The 16 days against gender-based violence puts the human rights of women and girls at the centre of the world’s and Iraq’s attention. In Kurdistan region, the campaign of this year brings attention to the difficult situation of displaced girls, women, and their right to education. As the crisis continues to deepen, humanitarian needs among the affected populations are escalating, in particular, for women and girls. Gender-based violence is one of the most significant features of this crisis and has had a major impact on women and girls and their ability and willingness to access education. Girls are particularly vulnerable to multiple forms of violence and the majority are out-of-school, experience growing levels of sexual violence, harassment, early marriage, exploitation and abuse, and are restricted by their families from moving freely.

“The 16 Days of Activism, gives all of us an opportunity to popularise the need to protect women and girls especially in Kurdistan where we have seen women and girls being targeted with all sorts of violence by ISIL. The 16 days is the reminder to all of us to do something extra for the women and girls”, said Her Excellency Pakshkan Zangana, the President of High Council of Women. “Violence against women is not our fate, it is not our destiny and it can be stopped, we need to work together to realise this”.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, pledged the Kurdistan Regional Government’s continued commitment and effort to stop violence against women which has been demonstrated through various policies and laws in the Region including, among others, the establishment of the Directorate for Combating Violence, and the Supreme Council of Women. “Eliminating violence against women remains a top priority for the Kurdistan Regional Government…we believe security, justice and equality is the best for a good Kurdistan”, he added.

Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan, the UNFPA Representative for Iraq, representing the United Nations in the event, said that, “learnings from successful interventions indicate that education is a powerful way to prevent child marriage, especially keeping girls in school through secondary grades”. He also noted that violence against women and girls in public spaces is often a significant deterrent to families in sending girls to school. He commended commitments of the Kurdistan Regional Government to protect the right to education, for example, through its various efforts to ensure displaced women and girls are free from violence and to ensure access to services, including education. He pledged continued UN support in advancing the right to education for girls and violence-free Kurdistan Region.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI

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