Baghdad, 6 December 2017 –The United Nations pressed at a meeting in the context of the 16 Days of Activism for expanding the space for women in State institutions, political parties, economic and social life and for enhanced and effective protection of their rights.
The meeting in Erbil on 4 December was organized jointly by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the High Council for Women Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government, with the focus on the participation and representation of women in decision-making positions. It was held as a follow-up to the recommendations of the Global Open Day on UNSCR 1325 on the role of political parties in advancing women representation and participation in the political, electoral and peace processes.
The meeting was co-chaired by Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, and Ms. Pakshan Zangana, Secretary-General of the High Council for Women Affairs. Participation included Minister Falah Al-Mustafa, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the KRG, Adnan Mufti, former Speaker of the KRG Parliament, as well as women leaders and heads of political blocs in the KR-I Parliament.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Zangana said “The role of women in politics is receding. Political leaders must show commitment and create conducive environment for the effective and meaningful participation of women in peace negotiations to unite the country.”
Mr. Kubiš urged political leaders to defend and protect the political, economic, social and legal space for women, to prevent obstacles hindering women’s participation in political life, notably now in the pre-election period. He underlined that “Representation of women in different leading positions will give women a stronger voice in guiding the work of political parties, of the parliament, and the government. This should start with women occupying leadership positions within political party structures.”
UNAMI continues to argue against progressing regress of women’s rights in Iraq to urge political leaders not to erode or dismantle the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and current legislation notably as regards the proposed amendments to the Personal Status Law in Baghdad.
Participants recognized that deprivation of families, lack of economic empowerment and economic future, breeds Gender-Based Violence. They called for broad legal and political reforms and recommended amending the political party’s law to ensure representation of women in decision-making positions within political party structures. They called for meaningful representation of women in Baghdad – Erbil negotiations. They also recommended developing an inclusive country policy to promote women at all levels, including minorities, and reiterated calls for accountability and justice for the crimes committed against women and girls by ISIL (Daesh) to accelerate the reconciliation process.
Mr. Kubiš reiterated that the UN will continue supporting the Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government to advance women, peace and security agenda in Iraq and support the implementation of the national action plan on UNSCR 1325.
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