Iraqi Human Rights Activists Are Sexually Assaulted and Beaten
Posted on: Friday, June 10, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MADRE: Rights, Resources and Results for Women Worldwide
CONTACT: Stephanie Küng, MADRE (212) 627-0444, email@example.com
Iraqi Human Rights Activists Protesting for Democracy Are Sexually Assaulted and Beaten
June 10, 2011 – New York, NY – Today, MADRE learned that pro-democracy activists who gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square were brutally attacked by un-uniformed forces. MADRE’s Iraqi partner group, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), states that activists who gathered in the square to continue their weeks of protests for democracy, jobs and an end to corruption were beaten by armed men who were unleashed to disperse the protests.
OWFI also reports that women were specifically targeted for sexual attacks. Four young women OWFI activists were violently groped and sexually assaulted, and one 19-year-old woman was attacked by a group of men who attempted to forcibly strip off her clothes. One woman lost a tooth in the attack. Another OWFI activist, a young man, tried to intervene and was severely beaten.
Pro-democracy protests began in Iraq on February 25, part of the wave of uprisings that has swept across the region. As an attempt to appease demonstrators, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki promised that reforms would be enacted within 100 days. This week, the government missed that deadline without meeting the demonstrators’ demands. Activists organized today’s protest to denounce the lack of reforms.
Activists also believe that the men who attacked today’s demonstration were organized by Iraq’s official security forces and were un-uniformed to keep them from being held accountable. OWFI reports that the attackers arrived at the demonstration by the thousands on chartered buses.
Yanar Mohammed, OWFI Director, said today, “For months, young women have been demonstrating for democracy in Tahrir Square, joining thousands of others who believe in a vision of an Iraq that is democratic and rooted in human rights. But instead of being heard, they have been viciously attacked in an attempt to silence them.”
Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, said today, “Women have been leaders of these pro-democracy protests, in Iraq and throughout the region. Today’s attacks were not random but part of a deliberate strategy of sexual violence. It is an attempt to terrorize women who have been the catalysts for demonstrations that call for a new Iraq.”
Available for interviews:
Yanar Mohammed, OWFI Director. OWFI is an Iraqi women’s human rights organization that works to shelter women escaping violence and denounce violations of women’s human rights. She also works as Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper called Equality (Al-Mousawat) and is an important and passionate speaker on behalf of Iraqi women.
Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, has worked with women’s human rights activists from Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East to create programs in their communities to address violence against women, economic development, climate change, and armed conflict.
Archives"Press Room" Home September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Peru TV slammed by UN as racial stereotypes paraded for cheap laughs (The Guardian, September 3, 2014)
In Iraq, women 'are the battlefield' (Women Under Siege , August 12, 2014)
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)
Iraq: The women left behind (Aljazeera, July 3, 2014)