Inspired by the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Sulaimaniya, the vibrant cultural capital in northern Iraq, has been the scene of demonstrations since February 17. Initially, the protesters took to the streets to show solidarity with the Tunisians and Egyptians and to call for reform and an end to corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan. After two months of protests, at least nine people have been killed, over 300 injured in clashes as well as dozens arrested. ASUDA, in partnership with other local organizations, requested funds to launch a one-month peace campaign to pressure the government to end the conflict. The campaign will consist of meetings with key parties in the conflict, banners, posters and radio messaging. ASUDA notes “women’s organizations may be especially well placed to sound the alarm in crisis situations as women are often the earliest victims in an emerging conflict. Networks of women may also be able to establish early responses to emerging conflict and should be considered valuable partners by the whole community.”
ASUDA works towards the eradication of discrimination and violence against women in Kurdish society by mobilizing the community against gender based violence and reforming laws that are contrary to women’s rights.