IOG in Iraq: “We Are Still Here” – IOG helps Mosulite women speak out

2 minute read

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), with input from the IOG’s Awatef Rasheed in Baghdad, has released a report that showcases how hard security measures adopted in the Iraqi city of Mosul, such as the Coalition’s military operation and disregard for the human rights of the local civilian population, undermine local peace building approaches and inflict disproportionate impacts on Iraqi women and girls.

“Both the Iraqi authorities and the intervening powers failed to take into account and address the different experiences of women and girls, thereby failing to meet their specific needs and demands,” says WILPF’s Secretary-General, Madeleine Rees. “It is crucial, therefore, to analyze the impact of the military operation on the city, the population and social cohesion within the community from a feminist, civilian-centred perspective and challenge toxic security perspectives that reinforce the drivers of conflict and forced militarized security on the civilian population.”

And the IOG’s Rasheed helped provide that “feminist, civilian-centred perspective” by providing specific recommendations on the use of discourse referring to the military offensive in the Report, advising on how to refer to warring parties and sectarian groups, and giving input on the recommendations.

“In general,” says Rasheed, “I helped make the Report more context-specific and ensure that it presented the Iraqi feminist perspective.”

The Report quotes Nadje Al-Ali from her article “Sexual violence in Iraq: Challenges for transnational feminist politics” as describing the post-invasion experience of Iraqi women as being marked by ”rampant domestic violence, verbal and physical intimidation, sexual harassment, rape, forced marriage – as well as increases in mu’tah or so-called pleasure marriages – [along with] trafficking, forced prostitution, female genital mutilation, and honour-based crimes, including killings.”

Years after Mosul was “liberated” from ISIS control in July 2017, the women, men and children of that city are still facing severe repercussions as a result of the Coalition’s military operation.

The Report is entitled “We Are Still Here” as a response to the military operation “We Are Coming” that announced the storming of Mosul, in order to bring attention back to the people whose fortunes were, and are still, being affected by the operations.

“We want the World to understand the devastating impact that the military operations have had on women and girls and for Coalition member states and international actors to adopt lessons learned as they set and implement future responses to conflicts in Iraq and the region,” says IOG’s Rasheed.

To read the full “We Are Still Here” report, click here.

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Institute on Governance

Institute on Governance

Founded in 1990, the Institute on Governance (IOG) is an independent, Canada-based, not-for-profit public interest institution with its head office in Ottawa and an office in Toronto. Our mission is ‘advancing better governance in the public interest,’ which we accomplish by exploring, developing and promoting the principles, standards and practices which underlie good governance in the public sphere, both in Canada and abroad.

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