Statement of Wadi in Iraq
After a decade and a half of work on combating female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Iraqi Kurdish region, Wadi is pleased to announce that more NGOs and UN agencies have acknowledged the urgency of this issue and are willing to support efforts to eradicate this inhuman practice. The KRG High Council of Women, UNFPA and others are bringing the issue to a higher level again through the workshops they held in the region.
Wadi has been able to establish 12 FGM-free villages and convinced tens of thousands of families to refrain from the mutilation of their daughters.
Since 2004, Wadi has come up with several surveys evidencing that a high number of girls and women had been and continue to be mutilated in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. In 2015, a Heartland Alliance survey indicated that the FGM rate had decreased considerably in some special focus areas that had received intense awareness by Wadi’s mobile teams.
However, we have to say that FGM is still a serious problem and it is still part of a broad range of numerous forms of domestic violence in the region. The two-day workshops adressed a practice that has to be “eliminated” as the workshop logo proclaimed. This needs the efforts of many parties; NGOs, authorities, UN agencies, civil society organizations, religious stakeholders and the media.
Wadi still has two teams operating in Garmyan, one in Ranya – whose seminar UNFPA envoy & the KRG HCoW attended- and one in Erbil working mainly on FGM. These four teams are convincing people every day, thereby preserving many girls’ bodily integrity – however, they are a drop in a bucket compared to what is needed to be done against FGM.
Although Wadi’s anti-FGM work is part of efforts to implement the domestic violence law No. 8 of 2011 issued by the KR Parliament, there is a serious lack of coordination and funding.
“The law needs to be amended to become more specific and clear”, stated the general legal counselor of the Ministry of Interior in his presentation. The authorities, especially the combating domestic violence police centers, need be present in the community like the “traffic police are present on the streets and roads” as the UNFPA envoy Mr. Everold put it.
It is worth reminding that FGM in particular and violence in general has again increased after 2014 when a very radical armed movement like ISIS appeared causing a lot of social, psychological, economical damage to the community. The financial crisis is another factor which for instance led some midwives to resume their former job of conducting FGM in very remote and rural areas to make a living.
Wadi will continue to combat FGM and domestic violence through its wider project of non-violent conflict resolution until FGM is actually eliminated. All participating organizations are sharing this final goal and look forward to achieving it.