Consultative workshop calling for legislative reform aimed at curbing violence against women in Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq, 30 November 2018 - The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq Human Rights Office (UNAMI HRO) facilitated two consultative workshops on 26 and 27 November bringing together 65 interlocutors (14 of whom were men), including members of parliament, media personnel, lawyers, academics, women’s rights activists, officials from the Ministry of Interior as well as the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) to discuss efforts towards the enactment of the Anti-Domestic Violence Bill and the revision, amendment or repeal of Iraqi Penal Code Articles 398, which essentially allows a perpetrator to avoid charges by marrying his victim and 409, which is commonly relied upon for the killing of women and girls in the alleged protection of family “honour.”

Underscoring Iraq’s Constitutional obligations as well as its obligations under international human rights law, specifically within the Convention on the Elimination of Violence against Women (CEDAW), to respect, protect and fulfil women’s rights to non-discrimination, participants provided recommendations to the draft Anti-Discrimination Bill, so that it is in line with international human rights standards and calling for the amendment or repeal of all the Penal Code articles that perpetuate discrimination against women, especially the perpetuation of violence against women and girls.

Among other issues, participants agreed to submit a petition to the Legal Committee of the Council of Representatives (COR) to place on the Agenda of the COR discussions for the enactment of an Anti-Domestic Violence Bill and amendment or repeal of Articles 398 and 409 of the Penal Code. Participants also called for amendment and repeal of other articles of the Penal Code as well as other legislation, including the Constitution, and thereby enable Iraq to be in line with its international obligations on elimination of discrimination against women.

UNAMI HRO continues to support efforts towards elimination of discrimination against women, which the Government of Iraq may realize through legislative reform to hold accountable perpetrators of violence against women.

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Photos: UNAMI PIO/Mazin Abdullah

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