Sunday, January 24, 2010

HRW: Kurdistan fails to combat female circumcision


London - The recent 20th annual World Report of Human Rights Watch criticizes the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for failing to combat the practice of female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in Iraqi Kurdistan; reportedly 60 percent of Kurdish women have undergone this procedure. But the Kurdish government says the figures are exaggerated.

HRW says girls and women receive conflicting and inaccurate messages from public officials on its consequences. The Kurdistan parliament in 2008 passed a draft law outlawing FGM, but the ministerial decree necessary to implement it, expected in February 2009, was inexplicably cancelled, says the human rights organization.

HRW says health providers in Iraqi Kurdistan were involved in both performing and promoting misinformation about the practice of female genital mutilation. As an example, HRW says one physician told patients that “circumcision is nothing; it does not influence life because a woman is sensitive in all her parts.”

Government medical providers routinely told HRW that FGM was uncommon-despite surveys and ‘promoted false information in media campaigns’, says HRW. One woman told HRW that on television “a [government] doctor explained that FGM is normal…. The doctor said, ‘If you do it or not it’s still the same.’

The report also mentions repressive and assimilationist policies carried out against Kurds by the governments of Iran, Turkey and Syria (Photo:

© Rudaw