Domestic Violence Law in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
January 22 , 2014
Report on the Implementation of the Domestic Violence Law in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq during 2013.
Almesalla Organization for Human Resource Development has published a special report on the impacts and effectiveness of the domestic violence law (Law No. 8) in the Kurdistan region of Iraq during 2013. This law, which was approved by the Parliament of the Kurdistan region in 2011, is the first of its kind in Iraq to focus on domestic violence, a problem that is widespread in Iraqi society in general and the Kurdish community in particular. The law defines domestic violence and also specifies ways to provide remedies for its victims and to hold those responsible accountable. In order to do this, specialized courts and reconciliation commissions were established and police departments were to develop expertise to work on the issue.
Almessalla’s report was released a year after the new law went into effect, which was not until the end of 2012. Specialized courts were established in the three provinces of the Kurdish region in September of 2012, however formation of reconciliation commissions, which are comprised of experts, was delayed until 2013.
In examining the implementation the law and its impacts on the phenomenon of domestic violence in the Kurdish provinces, the report noted some trends. New specialized courts were formed principally in big cities. In some counties and districts cases of domestic violence increased. The report analyzes some of the obstacles to ending domestic violence, both because of weaknesses in the law, and also due to the lack of expertise and resources dedicated to this issue. The report examines continuing debates concerning the effectiveness of the law and its suitability for the Kurdish community. Recognizing that the law is still quite new and has only been in effect for a short while, the possibility of amendments that would improve it are also discussed.
It is certain that the severity of the crimes and violations that women are facing within their families, including rape, beatings and forced marriages, which often lead to suicides or suicide attempts, means that there will be great interest in this law and other efforts to end domestic violence. Almessalla’s report offers an important opportunity to begin to evaluate the effectiveness of the law and to consider other ways to address this dangerous phenomenon.
For more information in English, you can download the full report here.
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