BASNEWS | 04.06.2017
Female Circumcisions or Female Genital Mutilation in Kurdistan
Circumcision is defined as cutting of female external genitalia which is carried out by traditional...
WEEKLY STANDARD | 17.06.2015
Confronting FGM in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan
Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran even...
stopfgmmideast | 20.05.2015
Campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan: Paying a visit to a Mullah who promoted FGM
The shock was great when the Iraqi Kurdish Xelk Media Network reported about a Kurdish Mullah...
THE TELEGRAPH | 04.03.2015
"If they mutilate my granddaughter? I’ll kill them’. Meet Iraqi village ending FGM
Amirah vividly recalls the day she was taken into a bathroom by the village midwife and forced to...
biomedcentral | 06.02.2015
The diversity of Kurdish women’s perspectives of female genital mutilation
The 6th February is marked by the United Nations sponsored awareness day, International...
WADI | 10.02.2015
International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM in the Kurdistan Parliament
Wadi, UNICEF and the High Council of Women Affairs launched an event about how...
stopfgmmideast | 05.02.2015
Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM: We need more campaigns in Asia
On the fifth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to female genital mutilation (FGM)...
WADI | 02.02.2015
Four new TV-spots Wadi has produced supported by UNICEF
as part of the ongoing campaign to eliminate FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan. These spots will be aired by different TV stations...
Female Genital Mutilation a Growing Problem in Iran
The hideous practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an exclusively Muslim nor a...
ORCHIDPROJECT | 17.12.2014
KMEWO Event on FGC
On November 13th 2014, the Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation (KMEWO)...
WADI | 09.12.2014
Radio feature on WADI’s efforts to improve the situation of Free FGM Villages in Iraqi-Kurdistan
“Fichar” program at Radio Deng, an independent Radio station in Kalar, did a feature on WADI as...
WADI | 03.12.2014
Kurdish FGM-Free Village invited to Talkshow
Kurdistan's first FGM-free village as talk show guests on 'Binewshe" (KurdSat TV) to... | 18.10.2014
A Kurdish girl's story of Female genital mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
As we all know from news reports from the region, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan have been...
TRUST.ORG | 09.09.2014
Iraqi Kurdistan could end FGM in a generation - expert
Female genital mutilation could be eradicated in Iraqi Kurdistan within a generation, a U.N...
The Guardian | 08.09.2014
Majority in Iraqi Kurdistan oppose female genital mutilation
Survey reveals widespread knowledge of FGM's dangers, with 68% of people saying it...
stop fgm mideast | 29.07.2014
FGM in Iraq: The hoax of a hoax?
Last week a statement by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was circulating in Arab...
WADI BLOG | 22.07.2014
Islamic caliphate labels female genital mutilation obligatory
Recently the Islamic state issued a fatwa which called female genital mutilation a religious...
WADI | 14.07.2014
One in four women in Central and Southern Iraq is affected by Female Genital Mutilation, new study suggests
A first independent study on female genital mutilation in central/southern Iraq finds that...
HIVOS | 13.06.2014
Kurdish villages declare themselves FGM-free
For ten years, Hivos partner WADI has been campaigning against female genital...
wadi | 05.06.2014
Cooperation agreement between UNICEF and WADI to combat FGM in Northern Iraq
UNICEF and WADI just signed a contract to boost the ongoing...
Gatestone Inst. | 07.05.2014
Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation
"No victim files charges against her own parents." — Rayeyeh Mozafarian, University of Shiraz...
stopfgmmideast | 30.04.2014
Second Middle East Conference on FGM to tackle myths
The Second Middle East & Asia Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by WADI and...
opendemocracy | 14.02.2014
Embracing shame: turning honour on its head
The challenge that embracing shame poses to the longstanding perversion of honour, is the... | 10.02.2014
Continues battle against Female Genital Mutilation FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan
For many years, people have believed that practicing of female genital mutilation (FGM) is...
wadi | 05.02.2014
Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation; Action in Asia is needed
On the fourth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female genital mutilation (FGM), the...
RUDAW.NET | 27.01.2014
A Slow Fight for Kurdistan’s Women
“It is like digging a well with a fingernail. Our work is very slow. But we did make progress.”
DEUTSCHE WELLE | 09.12.2013
Iraqi Kurdistan fights female circumcision
Female circumcision is slowly declining in Iraqi Kurdistan. Years of campaigning and a law...
RUDAW.NET | 29.11.2013
Kurdistan Premier: Stronger Policies Needed to Combat Gender Violence
Two years ago the KRG passed a law banning violence against women including genital...
BBC | 07.11.2013
BBC-Documentary: Dropping the Knife; The Fight against FGM
A BBC-Documentary: Dropping the knife; the fight against FGM...
CPT | 04.11.2013
IRAQI KURDISTAN: WADI shifts attitudes toward Female Genital Mutilation
On 30 October 2013, CPT’s partner organization, WADI Iraq office, organized a press...
AL-MONITOR | 02.11.2013
Female Circumcision Continues in Iraqi Kurdistan
Despite the efforts of Kurdish civil society organizations and the media to shed light on the...
HIVOS | 27.10.2013
WADI’s ground-breaking campaign against FGM: interview
Falah Moradhkin is WADI’s project coordinator in Iraq. He was one of the few who survived a...
BBC RADIO | 25.10.2013
Kurdistan's success in stemming Female Genital Mutilation
Kurdistan is one of Iraq's rare success stories, the region has enjoyed an oil boom and...
GULFNEWS.COM | 24.10.2013
How Kurdistan ended female genital mutilation
Two years ago, FGM was banned as part of a wide-ranging law to improve women’s rights...
the guardian | 24.10.2013
FGM: the film that changed the law in Kurdistan
Two filmmakers spent almost a decade reporting the greatest taboo subject in Kurdish society...
BIOMED CENTRAL | 08.09.2013
Female genital mutilation among Iraqi Kurdish women: a cross-sectional study from Erbil city
Iraqi Kurdistan region is one of the areas where female genital...
wadi | 14.08.2013
Rate of FGM decreases in some regions of Iraqi Kurdistan
The British MP Gary Kent has traveled again to Iraqi-Kurdistan and recently wrote an article...
The Independent | 31.05.2013
Fighting against Female Genital Mutilation in Iraq
It is a misguided belief that Islam requires young women be circumcised...
CIP | 22.03.2013
The Global Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation Continues
A global campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation [FGM], often misnamed "female...
Kurdistantribune | 04.03.2013
Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the Kurdistan Region
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the Word Health Organization (WHO) as...
UN Special | 06.02.2013
The long road to the first FGM-free villages in Iraq
According to a large survey conducted in 2009, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is...





Kurdistantribune | 04.03.2013. original text

Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the Kurdistan Region

By Sofia Barbarani

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the Word Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. It is a practice rooted in flimsy accounts of religious traditions, mythical beliefs, and purely aesthetic reasons and is recognised internationally as a form of violence against women. FGM often leads to long-term physical and psychological problems, as well as death.

Whilst new reports released by the UN point to fewer girls being subjected to FGM, the numbers are still alarmingly high. WHO estimates that between 100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to FGM.

In a symbolic move, the practice was banned on 20 December 2012, following a unanimous resolution at the UN General Assembly, whilst the 6 of February marked the International Day for Zero Tolerance of FGM.

Often considered a uniquely African problem, so much so that stats and figures of FGM in other areas of the world are not easily found, it is also practiced in the West, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In the Middle East, the rates of FGM are highest in Northern Saudi Arabia, Southern Jordan and Iraq, including the Kurdish region.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report concluded that as many as 40 percent of women and girls in Kurdistan have been subjected to female genital mutilation.

Despite the implementation of the Family Violence Law in August 2011, which includes several steps towards the eradication of FGM, HRW has found that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is yet to take defining steps in implementing this law. Whilst domestic violence is being tackled head-on through awareness campaigns and the training of judges and police, the same steps appear not to have been taken to implement the FGM ban, reports HRW.

Last year, Joe Stork (the deputy Middle East director at HRW) acknowledged the progress made by the KRG in passing the Family Violence Law, yet stressed the need to start an immediate implementation of it. Whilst on the International Day for Zero Tolerance, the UN called on the government of Iraq and the KRG to take additional steps to eradicate this brutal practice.

The difficulties have lain in raising the subject matter and giving a voice to the victims. In a traditional society like the Kurdish one, speaking of a girl or woman’s genitalia (often associated with sexual function and sexual pleasure) is not an easy task.

A more heartening result comes in the guise of German-Iraqi NGO WADI, an organisation which has been combating violence against women in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1993. In a recent study carried out by them, there appears to be evidence for a trend of general decline of FGM. According to their research, less than 50 percent of young girls are being mutilated today.

Following the organisation’s FGM-Free Communities programme, seven villages in the Kurdish region began their battles against the practice. According to WADI, not a single case of FGM has happened in these villages since. Villages who join the network and publicly commit themselves to stopping FGM receive small community projects, which they are free to choose.

WADI stresses the importance behind educating and alerting the villagers to the health and psychological risks of FGM. Midwifes also play an important role as practitioners, and they also must be convinced of the harm they are doing to the village’s girls if they are to stop. To further support women who have undergone the procedure, WADI launched an FGM Hotline project, through which FGM victims are provided with social, psychological, medical and sexual advice.

Today the Kurdistan Region is leading the fight against FGM in Iraq. This is due primarily to a handful of local women and organisations, such as WADI, which have taken the time to educate men and women on the risks of FGM.

As Kurdistan struggles under the weight of an unwavering tribal system, women’s rights are often disregarded due to pressure from tribal leaders and clerics. Regardless, if the KRG is to take its rightful place as a democracy amidst authoritarian regimes, it must regard issues such as FGM of utmost importance.

Sofia Barbarani is a London-based freelance writer, with an MA in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies, King’s College London. Her main focus is Jewish-Israeli identity and the Kurdistan Region.