Author: vthevathasan

Women’s Protection Unit, a 7,000-strong Kurdish military group.

First Responders

Women’s Organizations Fighting Against Gender-Based Violence in Iraq Iraq is opening a new chapter of violence and instability with women and girls pitched in the middle of this defining battle for its future. In the Islamic State’s (ISIL) extremist ideology they represent symbolic chattel to fulfill ISIL’s practices of sexual slavery and forced marriages to IS militants. The international community must coordinate their efforts with local women’s organizations to more proactively put the needs, protection and rights of women and girls in Iraq on their radar for immediate action. Last month, the Obama administration authorized strategic airstrikes against ISIL. However, this limited response has not adequately recognized the violence inflicted against Iraq’s Yazidi minority group. Iraqi Kurdish MP of Yazidi faith, Vain Dakhil, has given an emotional appeal for the rescue of Yazidis by the international community after witnesses reported around 500 women and children were buried alive in mass graves. Yet military intervention, sporadic and uncommitted, has provided only limited assistance and Obama’s latest statement delivered fleeting reference to the devastating violence perpetrated against women by …