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UN urges Iraq to pass laws to tackle domestic violence

Iraqi women celebrate World Women's Day in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on 8 March 2019 [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images]
Iraqi women celebrate World Women's Day in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on 8 March 2019 [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images]

Numerous UN offices in Iraq yesterday urged the government to expedite Anti-Domestic Violence Laws amid reports of a rise in such attacks during the coronavirus lockdown.

In a joint statement, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) cited several recent cases of domestic violence in Iraq including the rape of a woman with special needs, suicide due to domestic abuse, immolation and self-immolation as well as self-inflicted injuries due to spousal abuse, sexual harassment of minors and other crimes.

The statement added that the alarming rise of such crimes highlights the urgent need for parliament to endorse the Anti-Domestic Violence Law in Iraq.

"The UN in Iraq calls upon authorities to ensure that the judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers, invest more in hotline and online services, support the role of civil society organisations, keep shelter doors open for women fleeing abuse and punish perpetrators of any gender-based violence," they said.

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"The adoption of a law on domestic violence will help to ensure that perpetrators of gender-based violence in Iraq, such as those who carried out the heinous incidents seen in the recent past, are held accountable," they added.

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