Archiv für die Kategorie ‘In eigener Sache’

Silent Revolution

Donnerstag, 27. März 2014

Her Report portraing Wadi’s Iraq Co-ordinator Falah Murad:

Falah Murad Shakarm is a founder of the Zhyan group that endeavors to shed light on women’s issues in Iraqi Kurdistan, and particularly focuses on the eradication of honor killings. “In the last two years we organized more than 30 protests and public meetings for raising awareness about women’s rights,” he said. “Today 26-3, when I’m busy answering you, I presented a case in court on behalf of the Zhyan group [in which a] husband killed [his wife] after he was released with [a pardon] decree in 2012.”

If there is hope for Kurdish women, it lies with activists like Falah Murad Khan Shakarm. He’s lived through all of the March’s, surviving the March 1988 chemical bombings in Halabja and the March 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein in Rania. He’s lived through this March, hoping for women’s rights with the Nawroz New Year, and he’ll be fighting next March, and every month in between.

“I think women in Kurdistan started their silent revolution against all back-worded morals and the patriarchal system…but I see hope and people now are more educated,” he said. Still, he continued, “Women in Kurdistan, Iraq and all of the Middle East need freedom, respect and they need to be accepted us human beings. They need an environment with rule of law to protect them and they need to be present in all fields of life. They need an independent economy and less of a patriarchal system.”


Feb 6th: Many media reports on our work and FGM in Asia

Freitag, 07. Februar 2014

On February 6th, the eleventh international Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, a number of media outlets have picked up on the topic of Female Genital Mutilation in Asia. Many non-governmental und international organizations tackling FGM, including the World Health Organization, still don’t mention the existence of FGM in many Asian countries. Breaking the silence is a first step to saving millions of girls in these countries from being mutilated. WADI and Hivos stressed this in their press declaration on this year’s February 6th. Therefore, we are happy that many journalists have now brought out this message. In several cases Stop FGM Middle East and WADI were able to provide information.

Al Jazeera Turkey came to Wadi’s office in Suleymania in North Iraq and spoke with victims of FGM. The film also describes the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan and the successful campaign against FGM.

De Vokskrant, the largest newspaper of the Netherlands also reported on the work of Wadi in Iraqi Kurdistan on February sixth. On February 7th, they ran a long story on FGM in Indonesia, underlining the importance to stop ignoring the brutal tradition in Asia.

Y-Magazin, an Omani English language culture and lifestyle magazine, ran a large feature article on FGM in Oman quoting the activist Habiba al Hinai, presenting her study and mentioning Stop FGM Middle East mission in Oman.

The Iraqi Kurdish channel KNN interviewed Wadi’s women project coordinator Souaad Abdelrahman in Suleymania. And the Kirkuk Torture Center published a declaration condemning FGM.

Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation; Action in Asia is needed

Mittwoch, 05. Februar 2014

By HIVOS and WADI; The Hague, Suleimania 5 February, 2014.

On the fourth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice is far from being eradicated. While the numbers of mutilated girls are decreasing in Africa after decades of concerted efforts, large regions where FGM is practiced are entirely neglected in this worldwide battle. This is particularly true for Asia. The practice is widespread in Indonesia and Malaysia, it exists in Iran, Iraq,  and Jordan. In several countries of the Arabian peninsula FGM is practiced by relevant parts of the population.

These countries need to make an effort to fight FGM among their population. We also call upon Indonesia and Malaysia, where the practice is legally carried out in hospitals, to ban FGM and initiate a strong campaign against it. In some Arab countries and Iran the practice is not legal in hospitals, yet governments shy away from tackling the issue. As a first step reliable studies must be conducted and a campaign initiated. In some countries authorities must stop censuring voices that talk about FGM.

In Europe FGM deserves far more attention. The United Kingdom has seen an immense campaign this last year against the practice common among several migrant communities in Britain. France has taken some action. Yet, little to no campaigning has been seen in other European countries – even though migrant communities known to practice FGM are present in most European countries. It is more than likely that some have kept their tradition and practice FGM in their new homeland – just as has been found out for Britain. FGM can certainly not be viewed as a solely British problem. Governments and politicians all over Europe need to take initiative.

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Cross Border Assistance

Sonntag, 02. Februar 2014

Through partners WADI is helping to implement some projects in Syrian Kurdistan like a playbus, a community radio station etc…

Wadi’s accountant Kumry, who is originally from Syria, helped to make this small film explaining how these projects work and translating from Sorani Kurdish to Kurmanshi and Arabic.

This film is a small example of cross border help:

Succesfull protest of Women’s Rights group

Sonntag, 26. Januar 2014

For Friday night the NGO network Zhyan group has called to protest in front of the Parliament’s building of Iraqi-Kurdistan in Suleymaniah. With the slogan Start Dealing With Crimes Against Women in Iraqi-Kurdistan they present a list of demands to the Kurdish Parliament and Government.

Around 200 people attended the event and fifty stayed all night long. Dozens of parliamentarians joined for open discussion and the local media broadly reported, for example here.

In front of the Parliament Building

In front of the Parliament Building

More pictures:


Start Dealing With Crimes Against Women in Iraqi-Kurdistan

Donnerstag, 23. Januar 2014

Suleymaniah, January 23rd 2014

Zhyan Group, a women right’s network of more than thirty different NGOs and activist in Iraqi-Kurdistan, is organizing a protest in Suleymania in front of the Kurdish parliament. Starting on Friday, January 24th this event will continue for 48 hours, day and night protesting against the way the Kurdish Government has been dealing with crimes against women during the last two months.

While there has been much talk in public how the government cares about women rights, in practice not much happened when it comes to implementing the law against domestic violence or to persecute crimes.

Therefore, Zhyan group has prepared a four-page list of recommendations to improve the situation of women in Iraqi-Kurdistan.

Zhyan demands:

-  A serious follow up of six cases of murders of women that happened during the last two months.

- Real persecution of six young men who raped a 16-year old Syrian refugee in Erbil.

- Stop releasing prison inmates who were trialed for killing women through amnesty laws (weiterlesen…)

Suicide in Women Shelter

Montag, 30. Dezember 2013

A woman in the Suleymania women’s shelter committed suicide by burning herself on 29th December 2013.  This caused a fire in the shelter and two more women living in the shelter were injured by the fire.

This shelter meant to protect women who are victims of domestic violence was opened by WADI in 1999. In 2002, responsibility was taken over by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Since then WADI has been monitoring the conditions in this and other women’s shelters which are now operated by the government in Kurdistan. Conditions have been constantly deteriorating since the government took over responsibility starting from the poor state of facilities to a lack of counseling.

In 2010, WADI published a report about the conditions of women shelters and suggested many recommendations to the government and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs but to avail.

This accident is a result of this neglect. According to law number 8 for combating violence against women, every woman should have access to a shelter for protection. The prime minister mentioned in his speech only on 25th November that shelters are available.

However, we see in reality that they don’t serve their purpose. We feel sorry for the life of this victim and we wish other women to recover soon and hope that this accident fastens the process of reform in women shelters in Kurdistan.


Iraqi Kurdistan fights female circumcision

Dienstag, 10. Dezember 2013

Deutsche Welle about the Campaign against FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan and Wadi’s Free FGM Village program:

“Circumcision brought us problems. It is much better for husband and wife when it is not happening.” The mokhtar of Twtakal, a small village in Iraqi Kurdistan is very clear about it. The practice of FGM, or female genital mutilation, should be eradicated.

The village chief is proud that his village has stopped circumcising its women, where only two years ago still every mother had it done to her daughters. It was a bad habit, Kak Sarhad told DW. “For men, who have all these layers, it is cleaner. But women don’t have that and don’t need it.”

The elder women of the village do not agree. “It has been done for generations. Our mothers and grandmothers did it. We had no problems with our husbands, no divorces,” say some village women, gathered on the floor in the mokhtar’s house.

Twtakal is one of the six villages that became “FGM Free,” in a project launched by the German-Iraqi organisation WADI. The isolated village which houses 13 families is one of the success stories, and illustrates a slow trend toward a decline in the practice in Iraqi Kurdistan. Until recently, research done by WADI showed an over 60 percent prevalence of FGM in the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This summer, Kurdish scientists published new figures that seem to imply smaller numbers of young girls are touched by it, with their percentage down to about 35.

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In Arbat Refugee Camp

Donnerstag, 05. Dezember 2013

Millions of Syrians are living in refugee camps and are awaiting winter now. Like the ones in Arbat Camp near Suleymaniah.

Since yesterday it is raining without interruption and got cold. So they have to spent winter in wet tents and without proper heating. And still the situation in Arbat is not as bad as in many other camps, because it is quite small and additionally a variety of organizations is assisting the refugees.

Today Hanar Group, a network of Suleymaniah based NGOs WADI is a member of, again distributed some aid to the refugees. This was possible thanks to a campaign of some students from the American University of Suleymaniah, who have collected this money.

More pictures

Besuch des deutsche Generalkonsuls bei Radio Dangue Nwe

Mittwoch, 04. Dezember 2013

Die Delegation besuchte außerdem verschiedene Projekte in Halabja, so auch das von Wadi mitinitiierte Radio Dangue Nwe und das Halabja Frauenzentrum. Spontan gab der Konsul Dangue Nwe ein Interview (hier nachzuhören). Besonders beeindruckt zeigte sie sich sich über die lockere Atmosphäre in Radio und Frauenzentrum. Man wisse ja gar nicht, so hieß, wer “hier der Chef sei und wer der Fahrer”.

Seit Früjahr 2013 sind Frauenzentrum und Radio als eigene lokale Organisation registriert und erhalten so auch Unterstützung von der kurdischen Regionalregierung.


Die ganze Meldung lesen

Piramagrun, in future the first National Park in Iraqi-Kurdistan?

Montag, 02. Dezember 2013

Today Amr from  Nature Iraq showed us around in the beautiful area of Piramagrun mountains a bit north of Suleymaniah. They have the ambitious plan to turn this area into the first internationally recognized National Park of Iraqi-Kurdistan. Thanks to their initiative the parts of the marshes in Southern Iraq that were destroyed and dried up by Saddam Hussein are rehabilitated today and Iraq’s first National Park.

In Piramagrun a unique nature should be preserved  with a high biodiversity, but it is also planned to create picnic areas as well as educational and hiking trails. Wadi hope to be of help for this project.

Here some pictures of the area:



Iraqi Kurdish Support for Syrian Refugees

Dienstag, 19. November 2013

Members of Iraqi-Kurdistan’s only English language Women’s Right magazine “You Magazine” voluntarily collected donations in the campus of the American University to help Syrian refugees in the Arbat camp near Suleymaniah.

Today they handed it over to WADI.

The money will be used to support children in the camp.

Twenty years ago Iraqi-Kurds needed emergency assistance from abroad, now they are helping others who became refugees.

Wadi-Rundbrief Winter 2013

Montag, 11. November 2013


Download des ganzen Rundbriefes

BBC-Documentary: Dropping the Knife

Mittwoch, 06. November 2013

A BBC World reportage about Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi-Kurdistan and the campaign against it:



Guide to Domestic Violence Law No. 8

Montag, 28. Oktober 2013

Two of WADI’s lawyers, Falah Muradkhan and Shoxan Hama Rashed, have prepared a new Guide to the law No. 8 which prohibits gomestic violence including female genital mutilation (FGM). The famous Kurdish artist Rostam Aghala designed and edited it making it an easy to read, colorful publication. The project was supported by the Federal Foreign Office–Germany.

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BBC radio feature about the campaign against FGM in Kurdistan

Montag, 28. Oktober 2013

Here a feature of the BBC about the campaign against FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan:

Guardian Films: The fight against Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi-Kurdistan

Donnerstag, 24. Oktober 2013

Today Guardian Films present a short version of a co-production with the BBC  about the decade long fight against FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan:

Foto: Female genital mutilation: the film that changed the law in Kurdistan</p>
<p>Two filmmakers spent almost a decade reporting the greatest taboo subject in Kurdish society. Watch their story

Significant Decrease of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Iraqi-Kurdistan, New Survey Data Shows

Sonntag, 20. Oktober 2013

In several Iraqi Kurdish regions female genital mutilation (FGM) has declined significantly within a decade.

During the last six months, the Iraqi-German NGO Wadi has collected data on the prevalence of female genital mutilation in the areas of Suleimaniyah, Halabja, Raniya, Goptata and Garmyan. Having discovered in 2004 that FGM was practiced widely, Wadi’s mobile teams developed a village-by-village approach in their campaign to raise awareness among women about the medical and psychological consequences of the practice.

The new data is based on interviews with 5,000 women and girls and indicates that this approach has led to a steep decrease in the practice. While 66 – 99% of women aged 25 and older were found to be mutilated, the percentage in the pertinent age group 6 – 10 was close to zero in Halabja and Garmyan. In both areas FGM was previously practiced widely and where the awareness campaign began first. In Suleimaniyah the rate of mutilation among 6-10 years old girls is at 11%, in Goptapa 21% and in Raniya – Wadi’s most recent operation area where the rate used to be close to 100% – has now dropped to 48%. The usual age for the cuttings is between 4 and 8 years in this region.

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Im Frauen- und Jugencafe in Halabja

Dienstag, 15. Oktober 2013

Im Frauen- und Jugendcafé in Halabja, einem Projekt, das von dem Community Radio Dangue Nwe und dem Halabja-Frauenzentrum betreut und von Wadi seit Jahren unterstützt wird:

Green Cross Soccer Team

Montag, 15. Juli 2013

In cooperation with Green Cross Switzerland, WADI is supporting various projects in villages that were bombed with chemical weapons by Saddam Husseins army during the 80s: Mobile Health Teams and Playbusses, different rehabilitation projects and even a soccer team in the village of Goptapa. The Green Cross team is doing very well, now leading the league: