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Women's rights protestors in Iraq sexually assaulted


June 16, 2011 - Women protesters were molested and beaten by government-sponsored protesters in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Friday. The women were part of a delegation from the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), protesting to create a visible female presence in the pro-democracy movement. OWFI seeks to add women's freedom to the demands of jobs, electricity, drinking water, fair elections, and an end to corruption, that pro-democracy protesters campaign for. The group protests every Friday in Tahrir Square to bring attention to women's rights in the post-conflict state where women remain vulnerable....


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Women's rights protestors in Iraq sexually assaulted

Nobel Women's Initiative

June 16, 2011

Women protesters were molested and beaten by government-sponsored protesters in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Friday. The women were part of a delegation from the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), protesting to create a visible female presence in the pro-democracy movement.

OWFI seeks to add women's freedom to the demands of jobs, electricity, drinking water, fair elections, and an end to corruption, that pro-democracy protesters campaign for. The group protests every Friday in Tahrir Square to bring attention to women's rights in the post-conflict state where women remain vulnerable.

Watch a video of Yanar Mohamed of OWFI talking about what happened.


The women were asked to leave the square because they did not support the prime minister. When they refused, a group of pro-government men surrounded the women and groped them violently. The men then threw them down and beat and kicked them, calling them names like "prostitute" and "communist."

The women were able to escape with the help of male OWFI supporters.

June 6 marked the end of a 100 day period in which Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki had promised to enact reforms. His promises were made following a "Day of Rage" in which thousands of pro-democracy protestors marched in Baghdad on February 25. However, access to water and electricity has only worsened since then, and there have been no investigations of corrupt officials.

Knowing the government is unlikely to be responsive to them, the women have turned to the media in seeking justice, holding a press conference and working with Human Rights Watch.

One of the women returned home to find her house had been broken into and her laptop was missing. Her jewellery and other valuables remained untouched, suggesting the thieves had political motives. She is now staying in women's shelters.

What you can do:

  • Add your name to the list of signatories to Madre's letter condemning the attacks here or by e-mailing madre@madre.org.

Learn more

Iraqi Feminists Sexually Assaulted During Pro-Democracy Protests, Ms. Magazine, 13 June 2011.

Iraqi Human Rights Activists Protesting for Democracy are Sexually Assaulted and Beaten, eNews Park Forest, 10 June 2011.

Updates on the Use of Repressive Tactics against Peaceful Protesters in Iraq, Madre, 13 June 2011.



:: Article nr. 78710 sent on 17-jun-2011 17:16 ECT

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Link: www.nobelwomensinitiative.org/home/article/womens-rights-protestors-in-iraq-sexu
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