Iraqi Women Network, in its regular meeting held on 11/09/2014, renewed their claims to grant the legitimate rights of Iraqi women in decision-making positions, as the attendees expressed their resentment following the announcement of the new government which included only one woman a minister as and 22 male ministers and three deputy prime ministers, which is incompatible with the promises that launched by politicians in their meetings with the delegation of the network to select a number of women in the new cabinet, it is unfortunate that women remain victims of patriarchal bargains in the distribution of ministerial positions and the consolidation of the policy of exclusion and discrimination against women. The women activists agreed to continue demanding to increase the share of women in the ministries that still have not appointed ministers, as well as deputy ministers within the cabinet, in the chairmanship of the parliamentary committees and in the presidencies of the independent commissions and boards.
At the same time, the attendees praised on what was stated in the paper of the new government’s program, particularly related to strengthening the role of women in society, the activation of the National Development Plan 2013-2017, and implementation of national strategies of sectors that have been approved previously, as well as activating the role of civil society organizations in the process of development, construction, monitoring and evaluation. They renewed their position to cancel the Ministry of State for Women’s Affairs, and to coordinate with female MPs in the preparation of a proposed law for the formation of an independent Commission or a High Council for the advancement of women, and serious preparation for the formulation of the draft law in the upcoming period.
The meeting also agreed to cooperate and work strenuously with female MPs in the Council of Representatives to create the women bloc in the Council of Representatives for the necessity of such bloc for the coordination among female MPs themselves, as well as between them and the civil society organizations about women’s issues.
The meeting discussed the preparations for the Iraqi Women Network conference, it was agreed to determine the title of this conference: “Women are Peacemakers”, provided that its topics should include a number of priority issues, including: the impact of ISIS terrorist practices on the status of women, displaced women, women and justice, forced marriages, sexual violence, women in decision-making positions, and mechanisms of coordination among NGOs about the role of women in peace and security. They agreed to have final decisions on these topics in the next meeting, and to assign certain individuals to provide working papers for the conference, and determine the date of the meeting.
The meeting hosted the Crisis Adviser at Amnesty International, Ms. Donatella Rovera, who spoke about her trip during the past few weeks in a number of Iraqi provinces, and her meetings with the many IDPs, as she documented their suffering and abuses that they have suffered within the publications of Amnesty International. She discussed with the attendees the importance of collecting data and testimonies about ISIS criminal practices against women and children to be presented to the investigating committee of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations when they visit Iraq in the upcoming months.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, Women for Peace, the Association of Iraqi Women, Iraqi Journalists Forum, Baghdad Women Association, Rafidain Women Alliance, member of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission, Dr. Bushra al-Obaidi, member of the municipal council of Sadr City, Ms. Amal Kabashi, and the academic and researcher Dr. Balkis Mohammed Jawad.
Baghdad, 15 September, 2014