Kurdistan: Teenager Du’a Khalil Aswad stoned to death on April 7th
International Campaign against killings and stoning of women in Kurdistan
Condemn the brutal stoning to death of Doa - a young girl whose only crime was to fall in love
"Doa was stoned to death in the centre of the town of Bashiqa in front of hundreds of people and the authorities did not prevent this crime from happening. On the contrary, they were present and paving the way for this horrific crime to be carried out.
Doa was a 17 year old girl from a family of Yazidi faith; she was snatched from her house by some Yazidi men who discovered that she was in love with a Muslim Arab man and had visited him. They stoned her to death in public on 7th April 2007 in the town of Bashiqa.
It is known that women in Kurdistan and Iraq are oppressed. The few rights they do have are very limited and in most cases they are treated as sub-humans.
Killings, suicide, and violence against women are an every day occurrence in this region. Although a crime of this nature is very new to Kurdistan, this is an indication that such crimes against women are now tolerated. Doaâ€™s killers are still free.
The government's failure to protect women, and enforce laws against criminals, has created a situation where thousands of women become victims of so called "honour killings". Violence has risen as result of patriarchal and religious traditions.
We strongly condemn this barbaric act, and call upon all human rights and women's rights organisations, political parties, and activists in Kurdistan and globally to condemn this crime.
In the 21st century, for such crimes to be carried out in broad daylight is not only a shame on society as whole, but most of all, it is a shame on a government that is unable to protect women from such inhumane and backward practices. The stoning of Doa sets a dangerous precedent for more women to become victims of stoning.
We hold the Kurdistan Regional Government responsible for the lives and protection of women in this region, and we believe that the brutalisation and victimisation of women must come to an end.
We the undersigned therefore demand:
**That the Kurdistan Regional Government brings the killers to justice and punishes them.
**The Kurdistan regional Government should set laws against terror, killings and oppression of women, and punish criminals.
**To avoid this barbaric crime from becoming a norm and a practice in Kurdish society, the Kurdistan Regional Government should criminalise stoning to death."
(2) "A 17-year-old girl has been stoned to death in Iraq because she loved a teenage boy of the wrong religion."
As a horrifying video of the stoning went out on the Internet, the British arm of Amnesty International condemned the death of Du’a Khalil Aswad as "an abhorrent murder" and demanded that her killers be brought to justice.
Reports from Iraq said a local security force witnessed the incident, but did nothing to try to stop it. Now her boyfriend is in hiding in fear for his life.
Miss Aswad, a member of a minority Kurdish religious group called Yezidi, was condemned to death as an "honour killing" by other men in her family and hardline religious leaders because of her relationship with the Sunni Muslim boy. The teenager was dragged outside by 8 or 9 men and stoned for half an hour until she died. Her boyfriend is now in hiding in fear for his life
They said she had shamed herself and her family when she failed to return home one night. Some reports suggested she had converted to Islam to be closer to her boyfriend. Miss Aswad had taken shelter in the house of a Yezidi tribal leader in Bashika, a predominantly Kurdish town near the northern capital, Mosul.
A large crowd watched as eight or nine men stormed the house and dragged Miss Aswad into the street. There they hurled stones at her for half an hour until she was dead. The stoning happened last month, but only came to light yesterday with the release of the Internet video.
It is feared her death has already triggered a retaliatory attack. Last week 23 Yezidi workmen were forced off a bus travelling from Mosulto Bashika by a group of Sunni gunmen and summarily shot dead.
An Amnesty International spokesman in London said they receive frequent reports of honour crimes from Iraq – particularly in the predominantly Kurdish north. Most victims are women and girls who are considered by male relatives to have shamed their families by immoral behaviour. Kurdish authorities have introduced reforms outlawing honour killings, but have failed to investigate them or prosecute suspects, added the Amnesty spokesman.
Kate Allen, the organisation’s UK director, said: "This young girl’s murder is truly abhorrent and her killers must be brought to justice. "Unless the authorities respond vigorously to this and any other reports of crimes in the name of 'honour', we must fear for the future of women in Iraq."
Source: Daily Mail (UK); 3 May 2007
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