Iraq: UN report cites increase in 'honor killings' of Kurdish women

A United Nations report on the human rights situation in Iraq has criticized the Kurdish provinces for a poor record in addressing acts of violence towards women.
Iraq's relatively peaceful northern region of Kurdistan is witnessing a large number of so-called "honor killings" of women, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said.
In its 10th report on the human rights situation in Iraq, covering three months to March 2007, UNAMI said Iraq's three Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Arbil, and Sulaimaniyah have reported dozens of women killed for "immoral conduct.

"Between January and March, UNAMI received information on some forty cases of alleged honor crimes in Arbil, Dohuk, Sulaimaniyah, and Salaheddin where young women reportedly died from accidental burns at their homes or were killed by family members for suspected immoral conduct," the report said. Citing examples, the report said in January the charred remains of a woman were found on the outskirts of a town in Arbil, while a woman and her married boyfriend were reportedly shot dead by her brother in February. The report criticized the Kurdish regional government for its slow response to these acts of violence against women.

The United Nations also expressed concern over the treatment of detainees in prisons run by Kurdish Asayish (security) forces, and over attacks on press freedom by the same shadowy organization. "UNAMI continues to receive allegations of torture or ill-treatment of detainees in Asayish detention facilities," it said. "The Kurdistan Regional Government continued to subject journalists to harassment, arrest, and legal actions for their reporting on government corruption, poor public services, and other issues of public interest."

Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region largely runs its own affairs and has enjoyed relative peace and growing prosperity since the US invasion of March 2003, while Arab areas of Iraq have plunged into sectarian warfare.

25 April 2007