Last August, the world watched in horror as the extremist armed group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, attacked Iraq’s Yezidi community. Thousands fled without food or water into the nearby Sinjar mountains, but ISIS fighters waylaid many, executing men and abducting thousands of people, mainly women and children. Rumors of forced marriage and enslavement of Yezidi girls and women swirled, and were later confirmed as a trickle of women and girls – now numbering into the hundreds – escaped. Human Rights Watch researchers Samer Muscati andRothna Begum interviewed 20 of these women and girls and shared their findings with Amy Braunschweiger.
Sexualised and gender-based violence in Iraq, highlighted in recent weeks in relation to ISIS atrocities, has been at the heart of sectarian and authoritarian politics and developments since 2003. How can we talk about it and mobilise against it?
Women’s rights have been held up as one of the most tangible gains of the international intervention in Afghanistan. Yet after 13 years of promises that women’s rights are a high priority, these gains remain fragile and are at increasing risk of erosion, especially as expected peace talks with the Taliban gain momentum.
5 November 2014 – The African Union-United Nations hybrid mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has expressed its “deep concern” about allegations circulating in local media over the mass rape of 200 women and girls in a town in the region’s North, declaring that it is conducting a thorough investigation into the veracity of the claims.
The extremist Sunni militant group called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which recently declared a caliphate in parts of the Middle East, now controls an area of 13,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Testimonies coming out about daily life in the ISIS-controlled region depict an agenda of fear and intimidation being imposed, one that targets women with repression and violence.
The Association of Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS) would like to express its solidarity with the people of Iraq who have suffered from dictatorship, economic sanctions, an invasion and occupation, years of militarization, and a new authoritarian government. The most recent suffering by Iraqis, caused by Islamic State (IS) forces, is so far mainly affecting religious minorities.