HRW: Iraq should increase protection for victims in proposed domestic violence bill

HRW: Iraq should increase protection for victims in proposed domestic violence bill

Human Rights Watch [HRW] [website] sent a letter [text] and a memorandum [text] to the speaker of the Iraqi parliament on Sunday with recommendations for amendments to a proposed domestic violence bill. HRW urged the Iraqi government to set penalties for the crime of domestic violence, to focus on justice over reconciliation and to improve victim protections. HRW provided detailed amendments to the bill, ranging from changing the definition of domestic abuse, the rights of victims after abuse, giving government authorities a wider range of tools to help the victims and establishing shelters for victims. HRW also alleged, that Iraq would be violating its obligations under international human rights law, if the bill is not changed to live up to international standards for protection of victims of domestic abuse. A survey from 2006/07 [survey, PDF] suggests that one in five Iraqi women are subject to physical domestic violence.

A UN report from 2011 [JURIST report] stated that women’s rights in Iraq continue to be a big concern as domestic violence, trafficking, genital mutilation and honor crimes against women continue to be reported. In February, Russia enacted [JURIST report] a new law that decriminalizes domestic violence to make it an administrative offense. In December 2016, Lebanese lawmakers took steps to overturn a law [JURIST report] that allows rapists to avoid prosecution if they marry their victims