Kurdistan Regional Government


KRG honours women’s rights campaigner on International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women

Erbil, Kurdistan - Iraq (DFR – KRG.org) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) yesterday marked the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women with a ceremony at the Erbil Convention Centre which honoured the work of Ms Khandan M. Jaza, author of “An Ocean of Crime” and head of the Khanzad Cultural and Social Organisation.

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, along with the French and Swedish ambassadors to Iraq, presented Ms Jaza with the award. In his speech the Prime Minister said, “In order to be truly strong and prosperous the Kurdistan Region must not focus only on our economy…our cultural and social attitudes must also grow as we develop.”

Prime Minister Barzani condemned the practice of honour killing, saying, “There is no honour in this crime. These actions offer nothing beyond disgrace to our people and a stain on our character.” He called on the people of the Region to stand up to eradicate this crime and condemned those who promote it.

Saying that the KRG was serious about its role in legislating against violence towards women and educating the youth of the region, the Prime Minister also called upon religious leaders, NGOs and the media to actively promote the rights of women.

Mr Barzani asked the Kurdistan National Assembly, the Regional parliament, to schedule a special session on 8 March 2007, International Women’s Day, to issue a report to the people of Kurdistan on the steps being taken to improve the position of women in society. He also charged the Minister for the Region for Women’s Affairs to create a programme of activities to mark the occasion.

The event was organised and hosted by the Ministry of Sports and Youth. In his speech, Mr Taha Barwary, Minister for Sports and Youth, echoed the Prime Minister's call for greater equality and more promotion of women's rights.

The evening was hosted by the lively duo Nisti Sterk and Ozz Nujen. Ms Sterk, a Kurdish actress living in Sweden, is an actor, radio personality, author of a children's book, and contributor to Swedish newspapers. Mr Nujen is also a Kurd living in Sweden where he is a comedian active on radio and television. He routinely performs his comedy routine in New York. The evening included a recital by the Kurdistan String Orchestra, which recently won second place at the Vienna International Youth Music Festival, and performances by several popular Kurdish singers.

Khandan M. Jaza, won the award for her book “An Ocean of Crime” which highlights the problems faced by women in the Kurdistan Region. Ms Jaza heads the Khanzad Cultural and Social Organisation, which gives women practical assistance with courses in driving, computers, languages, literacy, and fitness training. It also helps women deal with the effects of domestic abuse and discrimination.

As well as the French and Swedish Ambassadors to Iraq, the ceremony was also attended by representatives of UN agencies, international and local NGOs, and KRG and party officials.

See also Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani’s speech at the presentation of the Women’s Rights Award on the 2007 International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Read the speech by Sweden's Ambassador to Iraq