Amending the Law to Combat Domestic Violence in Kurdistan Region

MERI’s Democracy and Governance Programme initiated a process aiming at revising the current legislation that relates to Prevention of Violence Against Women. We are now in the final stage of this project after extensive exchange amongst experts, related civil society organizations and government institutions over the past six months. A final round of debates of the draft law will take place this week on January 14th, after which the draft will be finalized and passed to the Kurdistan Parliament.

The new draft law broadens the definition of violence and will include gender-based violence: forceful marriage, forced prostitution, impregnation, chastity and baby gender tests and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Furthermore, it also recognizes domestic violence against family members, forced begging, forced work or prevention from access to education.

It will also enable anyone with the knowledge of cases of domestic violence to file a lawsuit through the General Directorate of Combating Violence against Women (GDCVW), General Prosecutor or Police Stations. Furthermore, the GDCVW will be responsible in the investigation, follow up as well as raising social awareness on domestic violence in collaboration with the civil society organisations. It will be included in the basic and higher education curriculum in the Kurdistan Region.

Finally, the revised law proposes serious punishments (financial and banning) for doctors, midwives and anyone else involved in carrying out, facilitating or hiding information on any FGM case and the provision of support and protection for the victims.

Attachment – The new draft law [Kurdish]

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About MERI:  The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.  Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.

MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum).

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