Female Genital Mutilation FGM common in Iraq's
Kirkuk: Study shows. The Kurds are seeking to
integrate the province into the semi-autonomous
Kurdistan Region clamming it to be historically a
Kurdish city, it lies just south border of the
Kurdistan autonomous region. Kurds have a strong
cultural and emotional attachment to Kirkuk, which
they call "the Kurdish Jerusalem." Kurds see it as
the rightful and perfect capital of a Kurdistan
state. Photo: UKS
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For the first time, an empirical study proved that
female genital mutilation is also prevalent in parts
of Iraq beyond the borders of the Kurdish Region.
April 10, 2012
KIRKUK, Iraq's border with Kurdistan region,
— WADI and the local women’s rights
organization PANA have conducted an in-depth
research about the existence and background of
female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kirkuk. They
interviewed 1212 women above the age of 14 and asked
each of them 61 questions.
Two years ago, WADI did a similar research in
Kurdish Northern Iraq which revealed an alarmingly
high prevalence rate of more than 72%. Around the
same time, Human Rights Watch published a
qualitative study which backs and complements WADI’s
results. Meanwhile, after extensive protests and
lobby efforts from activists and women’s rights
groups (see notably the campaign STOP FGM in
Kurdistan), the Regional Government has adopted a
legal ban of FGM and other forms of violence against
women and children.
Not so in Southern and Central Iraq, which also
comprises the multi-ethnic, oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
The public authorities assume that FGM is
non-existent outside the Kurdish Region.
The new Kirkuk study proves this assumption to be
utterly false. According to its findings, 38.2% of
Kirkuki women live with the consequences of FGM.
With 65.4%, Kurdish women are the most affected
ethnic group. Arab women hold 25.7% and Turkmen
Focusing on the religious affiliations, 40.9% of the
Sunnis, 23.4% of the Shi’ites and 42.9% of the
Kaka’is are genitally mutilated. No Christians were
found to be affected.
The FGM prevalence rate among girls under the age of
20 is a “mere” 15% which may indicate that the
practice is about to decrease gradually. Among women
aged 60-70, it is up to 80%.
When it comes to the reasons for the practice, the
answers are evenly divided between “tradition” and
“religion”, i.e. Islam.
In most cases, FGM means the amputation of the
clitoris. Some women however – in the Arab-dominated
countryside it is 21% – experienced more severe
including the cutting of the inner and/or outer
The Kirkuk findings prove that FGM is a common
practice also among non-Kurds – Sunnis and Shi’ites
alike. This data constitutes strong evidence for the
assumption that FGM is prevalent throughout Iraq.
Millions of women and girls are likely to be
affected by these grave human rights violations.
Therefore, we call on the Baghdad parliament to
address the issue as soon as possible, support
public awareness and discuss further ways to counter
female genital mutilation in Iraq.
The complete study will be published in June 2012.
For more information please contact us through the
phone or email listed below:
Wadi e.V. - Association for Crisis Assistance
and Development Co-operation
Herborner Str. 62
D-60439 Frankfurt am Main / Germany
Wadi Office Sulaimaniyah/Northern Iraq Phone:
Pana Kirkuk Phone: +964-7701512007
Stop FGM Kurdistan
Published with cooperation with ekurd.net
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