Iraqi human rights committee calls on Kurdish counterpart to coordinate fight against female circumcision
A member of the human rights committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives today called on its Kurdish counterpart to coordinate together to fight against female circumcision, adding that awareness and education are the most important weapons to combat the practice.
By Khudr Khallat
MP Ashwaq al-Jaff of the Iraqi committee said: "Educating against this phenomenon is the responsibility of the human rights committee in Baghdad and Erbil in coordination with civil society organizations, cultural centers and media, as well as the important role of the family.
Jaff explained that his committee reviewed a report published yesterday by AKnews about female circumcision.
"It got our attention as it detected figures that must be combated. Therefore we have included this issue on the agenda of the human rights committee," he said.
"Our commission has a lot of important files and I don't hide a secret that the issue of female circumcision across Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, has got the attention of human rights organizations and international personalities.
"The main problem is that we're in dire need of education on human rights, because when the people do not know the limits of their rights, the rights will be violated and people will not be able to defend their rights.
"Fighting this phenomenon and other phenomena can be done through public awareness and comes in first place, as well as cultural, medical awareness and individual rights. If these three things were achieved we would be able to eliminate this negative phenomenon to a large extent."
AKnews published yesterday a report based on a study prepared by Sulaimaniyah-based German NGO Wadi e.V. and PANA, a local women's rights organization in Kirkuk. Both organizations worked together to interview 1,212 women and girls, aged above 14 years, living in Kirkuk.
The study found that 38.2 percent of the sample had undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) in a region previously assumed to be free of the ancient custom.
Female circumcision dates back several centuries and is still common in some countries, particularly southern African Sahara and countries in south and west Asia and the Middle East.Of those interviewed, 65.4% are Kurdish, 25.7% are Arab and 12.3% are Turkmen. Furthermore, those affected also showed diversity in religious backgrounds: 40.9% were Sunnis, 23.4% Shi'ites and 42.9% Kak'is.