A Systemic Pattern of Women Killing in Iraq, the Result of 2020’s Women Rights’ Violations

Posted December 28, 2020 from United States

The year 2020 was difficult, globally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its associated human and economic losses. But the conditions in Iraq are always different, more precisely, always worse. The year started with the continuation of the peaceful organized protests, that have already begun in 2019, representing the free will of the citizens who sought for governmental and institutional reformations. However, despite the pandemic, the protests continued, while the government violated human rights in an attempt to stop the peaceful demonstrations of the popular rejection.

            The year has also witnessed a systematic pattern of women killing, that can be traced back to 2017, or in fact back to the period after the 2003 war. Educated women, activists, academics, social media influencers, liberals, or simply women who speak the truth, are those who have been subjected to killing, by armed groups (supported by the corrupted government). It was a usual day (with typical societal and governmental oppression), for Reham Yacoub, a brilliant doctor and activist who thought that she can protest against the oppressive regime yet was cruelly shot by an assault rifle-brandishing gunman on the back of a motorcycle on August 19th, 2020. According to Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor who commented on the incident, “the continuing policy of impunity in Iraq encouraged the escalation of systematic assassinations outside the law, the most recent of which was the assassination of the prominent protest activist Reham Yacoub on Wednesday”. For Sheelan Dara, a Kurdish pharmacist, who participated in the protests and was killed, along with her family in Baghdad, in September 2020, it was a delusion that she can practice her civil rights and protests, in the flawed democracy claimed by the authoritarian government. The actions to silence those “rebellion”, or any outspoken women are clearly systematic, to suppress the ignition of the Iraqi revolution, and to enforce and maintain dominance, violently.

            More recently, the cruelty and violence against women has manifested in the terrorism of the Iran-backed Shia militia “Rab’ Allah”, against women who work in a message parlour. The incident encapsulates such a clear pattern of women rights’ violations. The attack of a group of armed men raiding the parlour and hitting two women was recorded in a video that has been circulated in social media. This attack occurred in the supposedly, relatively safer area of Erbil, Kurdistan, another form of patriarchal society run by a tribal authoritarian government where other patterns of women rights’ violations happen, needs a whole different article to cover.

            Although the systematic women assassinations haven been noticed, reported and analyzed, yet actions are unfortunately continuing in women rights violations in the country. Such attempts to document these incidents are represented by the United Nations experts reporting and warning against this pattern. In a recent statement the UN expert states that: “It is outrageous that women in Iraq have to risk or lose their life to defend human rights”, and they are calling for investigations. Despite such an attempt, and the reporting of other organizations such as the Human Rights Watch, UN Women, UN Human Rights, who provide regular statements and reports on those violations of women rights, attempting to protect women, the situation in Iraq is getting worse. As a female from Iraq, I can foresee more women rights breaches, given the current corruption, armed militias’ control, societal oppression, and civil unrest.

This story was submitted in response to Gender-Based Violence.

Comments 6

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Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 29, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

Hello, Shermeen,

I wonder what are the last thoughts of those women before they were killed. I wonder what their stories are. It's so horrible that society can easily take women's lives. Thank you for raising your voice about the situation of women killings in Iraq. Just thinking or reading about what women face there and other countries in the world is heartbreaking.

Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Hello shermeen,
It's so heart breaking to hear the the news of women being killed there. It's such a bad act because we women are the mothers of all nations. Hope it comes to the end and thanks for coming up.
Eseza Mukyala........ Lots of love!!

Nini Mappo
Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Hello Shermeen,
Thank you for honoring the lives and work of these women, and every woman in Iraq longing for freedom. The world sometimes forgets that there are actual people in Iraq with rights and freedoms that need to be defended, because all it has heard of is the war. This is important awareness you create with your story-telling, and it is heartbreaking to see all the evils meted against innocent women asking for better.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Reham Yacoub, Sheelan Dara, women who work in a message parlour (frequented by men!). May we remember these women and every woman who has been murdered. How is it, that the UN continues to allow leaders of countries to sit and take part, when the rights of women are so blatantly ignored, when the killing and imprisonment of women continues. "UN expert states that: “It is outrageous that women in Iraq have to risk or lose their life to defend human rights”, and they are calling for investigations". More investigations. How long will this take? How many more murdered, held in jails? Thank you for this news. It is here thanks to World Pulse and sisters like you, that we even know. May we remember their names, and continue to speak out for freedom for women.

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Greetings Shermeen,
Thanks for sharing this story. Many cases I have read where these types of injustices prevail and unfortunately women and children rights are often violated. They have no rights, no voice and are not even respected for the fact they too exist. This is a very common problem in many countries.
Thank you for sharing this post and may you advocate well on the behalf of the good of communities and be the voice for the women and children if that is what your goal is. Keep strong at it and may you succeed,

Mama Queen

Beth Lacey
Jan 11
Jan 11

So tragic. The work of organizations like the UN must include more action