6th of February: International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Germian Region in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq declared free of female Genital Mutilation (FGM) after fifteen years of intense campaigning.
German-Iraqi Organization WADI and Dutch Consulate General in Erbil commemorate this event.
On 6th of February, The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the German-Iraqi Organisation Wadi is pleased to announce positive achievements: In the Germian region of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) no new case of FGM was recorded during the last year.
Together with the Dutch Consulate General in Erbil, Wadi is therefore conducting a press conference and ceremony in Kalar, the capital of the Germian region.
The mayor of one of the FGM Free Villages, activists from the region, representatives of the directorates of Combating Violence against Women, and members of Wadi’s Germian team will join us in a panel discussion.
The successful campaign to combat FGM in the KRI started fifteen years ago, in 2005 in Germian. Back then Wadi’s local Mobile Teams succeeded to break the silence surrounding female genital mutilation in northern Iraq, which up until then was considered to be an ‘African practice’.
A pilot study showed high rates of FGM in the area. In the 16 years since that breakthrough Wadi has been working to end the practice through our STOP FGM Kurdistan campaign. Through this campaign many NGOs, and activists joined us in the fight against FGM. We would like to thank all of them for their support and commitment and we would like to especially thank the Dutch Consulate General in Erbil and the Dutch Foreign Ministry who have provided long-term support to this campaign starting in 2010.
Our Women Led Mobile Teams in Germian work closely with women, male community leaders, village elders, religious leaders and other local structures in order to convince an entire village or area to collectively stop practicing FGM on their daughters and community members. This has not always been an easy journey, but it has shown that by working on-the-ground with – and not against – communities, the practice of FGM can be stopped and real change can take place quite quickly. It is our hope that this success can be a positive example for the rest of the region.
We can now declare that FGM is no longer widely conducted in Germian. This is an historic and hopeful moment, and we will continue to work to end this harmful practice entirely.
We are pleased that the Parliament of Kurdistan enacted Law No 8 of 2011, which bans FGM and many other forms of violence against women, children and the elderly. Petitioning for legal mechanisms to fight the practice of FGM, together with other NGOs and activists, has been an important part of our campain. Also, the 16 years of campaigning have contributed to the establishment of centers, police stations, and special courts for cases of domestic violence in the Kurdistan Region.
However, there is still much need for more research in this region on FGM. After the UN acknowledged that FGM was not only an African problem, but also exists in Iraq, activists from other Middle Eastern and South Asian countries started to speak out. With the help of Wadi organizing two conferences on FGM in the Middle East, UNICEF later raised the number of affected girls worldwide from 120 to 240 million,
As part of the ongoing activities in Iraq we are pleased to share our new project, supported by the Dutch Consulate General in Erbil, to work towards ending FGM in the areas of Ranya, Erbil and Halabja. We will be working with communities and encouraging them to abandon the practice as a group. Additionally, we will work with victims of FGM on how to regain parts of their lives that were negatively impacted as a result of what was done to them, which is the second phase of our long-term commitment to FGM affected communities.
We look forward to the day FGM is no longer practiced in Iraq, and to a world that is FGM free.
Isis Elgibali, Shokh Mohammad,
Suleymaniah, February 4th 2020
Baxtiari 113, Alley 7, House 8
Suleymaniah; Kurdistan, Iraq
Tel.: 00964-7701-522184, firstname.lastname@example.org