IKWRO demands action in Kurdistan stoning
Since the murder of Du'a Khalil Aswad, a little over a year ago, there can be few people who are unaware that in Kurdistan, even the stones on the ground carry the evidence of brutality and violence against women. Under the Kurdish and Iraqi government, power is ultimately ceded to the tribes, with their barbaric culture of 'honour' killing, despite the international attention given to these constant and repeated acts of terrorism against women.
Few are punished for murdering a woman in Kurdistan, or for aiding and abetting the murder of a woman. Dozens of other girls and women are killed every month because the Kurdish government and politicians in power do not care about the lives and deaths of girls and women, perpetuating the culture of 'honour' killings and failing to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
In the latest killing, or at least the latest to come to public attention, Kurdistan Aziz was 16 years old when she escaped her family with a man she knew they would not accept, and courageously following the ancient tradition of radu kauten they eloped together to Arbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan. They planned to start a life together. But her father had other ideas for her; not of love, happiness or choice but that she must die for this rebellion against the patriarchal order.
The girl was well aware of the risk so she asked the police for help in the KDP controlled city. They referred her to the Department to End Domestic Violence. This Department, pledged to protect girls like Kurdistan proved themselves corrupt in accepting a bribe from her father and turned her over to him knowing the consequences. No Kurd could claim to be unaware of the dangers of returning a young woman to her father in this situation, particularly not a professional within a Department of this nature. The person who accepted this bribe is an accessory to murder since that is what ‘honour’ killing is, controlled murder.
Kurdistan Aziz was taken back to her family; they chose to kill her by the method of stoning her to death on the Hawre Mountain. A local woman's organization alerted the authorities in the Governate of Sulemaniya, controlled by the PUK. The PUK refused to intervene in a 'tribal issue' and asked the women's organization to risk their own safety to provide a photograph of her. On 17-18th of May, at 16 years old, Kurdistan Aziz, the girl who fell in love, was killed by her relatives, her body crushed with rocks.
The death of Kurdistan Aziz is part of the brutal and common idea that death is necessary to reclaim the “honour” of the community from the "shame" supposedly brought upon them by women or girls who dare to try to make their own lives and their own decisions: but there is no shame in Kurdistan Aziz's love and courage. The shame is in the hearts and minds of the politicians, the men who are paid to protect women who in reality sell them by accepting bribes, knowing full well the outcome. The shame is in the hearts of men who could kill a child by stoning her, because she wanted to love and be loved according to her choice, and because her father wanted to protect his reputation as a man who treats women as a proprietal right, because in Kurdistan, this is where rightness lies.
The shame is upon murderers for murdering women in the name of their warped and degraded perception of 'honour'.
* National police must act immediately to apprehend the father of Kurdistan Aziz and all members of the Aziz family and prosecute them for murder.
* National police must investigate the Department to End Domestic Violence and discover the individual responsible for accepting the bribe and prosecute him or her as an accessory to murder.
* All employees working for the Department to End Domestic Violence must be investigated; anyone who had knowledge of the bribe must be dismissed from service and hold no role in public service in the future. Women cannot have confidence in an organization that has been proven to accept bribes and this must be addressed.
* No public official should accept the assurance of a father, or any other community member that a person released to them will not be harmed. These assurances provide no protection to the potential victim; they should provide none to any other person.
* The PUK in Sulemaniya are grossly negligent. Whoever made the decision to ignore the stoning of this young girl is unfit to hold public office and must be dismissed and face criminal charges.
* All members of the Department must be trained and taught about their responsibilities; and the consequences of betraying the trust of vulnerable women.
* Public officials should never release a vulnerable girl or woman to any relative or other community figure even if that person gives assurances of her safety. These assurances provide no protection. It should go without saying that they should provide no protection for corrupt and collusive officials.
* There must be a full enquiry into all the failures and an analysis of how the system of protection can be improved; it must include extreme professional and criminal repercussions to any individual in public life who ignore or betray women at risk of violence.
* Public awareness needs to be organised through the media
Please support our campaign: we are asking you to write to or fax the Kurdistan Regional Government the addresses below expressing your concern about the murder of Kurdistan Aziz and supporting our demands.
The Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil
KRG Representation in the United States
Office:202 776 7196
Fax: 202 887 9168
Kurdistan Regional Government-Erbil
1050 Seventeenth Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
KRG Representation in the United Kingdom
7 Belgrave Road
London SW1V 1QB
KRG-European Union Mission
Phone: +32-2-513 72 28
Fax: +32-2-513 36 79
rue le la Loi 221
KRG Representation in the Nordic Countries
Phone: +46 8 442 0505
Fax: +46 8 442 0905
SE-170 07 Solna
KRG Representation in Germany
Phone: +49 30 7974 8491
Fax: +49 30 7974 8492
Vertretung der Regionalregierung-Kurdistan Irak in Deutschland
P.O. Box 150 101
D-10633 Berlin, Germany
KRG Office with UN & NGOs
Phone: 0041- 22 732 1656
Fax: 0041- 22 732 1659
34 Rue du Moillelbeau
1209 Geneve, Switzerland
KRG Representation in France
Phone: +33 1 42 65 18 45
Fax: +33 1 42 65 18 46
You can also: send an email via this link. You may also wish to send copies to the PUK and (email link).
Director: Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation
Founder: International Campaign Against Honour Killings