tag ‘Kurdistan’
Kurdistan proud to be a safe haven for refugees July 28, 2014 | 10:06 pm

While Europe closes is borders for millions of refugees, Kurdistan is proud to become a safe haven. Two different attitudes towards refugees:

The President of Kurdistan Region , Massoud Barzani   thanked on Monday the people of Kurdistan, for having aided the huge numbers of displaced people and refugees despite the “blockade” imposed by the Authority in Baghdad.

Barzani said in a telegram of congratulations on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr seen by “Shafaq News” that “the humanitarian situation of the people of Kurdistan has become a place of admiration and respect of the international community.”

He added that “hundreds of thousands of citizens from all ethnic and religious components and across areas of Iraq were forced to leave their towns and move to Kurdistan.”

Barzani said that , “I take this opportunity to reiterate my thanks to the steadfast people of Kurdistan that is helping and sheltering these huge numbers of displaced people and refugees, despite the inhuman blockade imposed by the Authority in Baghdad on our people.”

Die unschlagbare Fußballliga junger Frauen in Irakisch Kurdistan July 28, 2014 | 09:32 pm

Ein Interview des Radio Dreyecklandes mit Thomas von der Osten-Sacken über Mädchenfussball in Irakisch-Kurdistan


Emergency Aid for Internal Displaced Iraqis, who fled the Terror of ISIS July 16, 2014 | 04:20 pm

Wadi is supporting refugee families from Western Iraq

Hundred of thousands of Iraqis had to flee the terror of the radical Islamic Group ISIS that took over big parts of Western Iraq in June. The were looking for shelter and safety in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan.
But refugee camps are overcrowded and many families have to live in schools or other public buildings without getting much of assistance.
In Darbandikhan, a small town nearby Suleymaniah, around 500 families, most of them women and children, are sheltered in a local school building.
As part of the local Iraqi-Kurdish network Hana, which also supports refugees from Syria, Wadi is supporting these families with basic need such as food, clothes and toys for the children.
Please support these effort with your donation too.

A small breaktrough July 15, 2014 | 02:07 pm

From the Global Post:

In Iraqi Kurdistan, suicide by self-immolation has replaced honor killing in many cases. Most often the decision is made by a woman herself either to escape a life of misery or shame, or due to pressure from her family members. The majority of these are reported as accidents. Dunya’s sister-in-law died three years ago in one such incident.

WADI estimates around 10,000 women have burned to death since the Kurdish region gained autonomy in 1991. Just how many of these were suicides is unknown as such cases are never investigated, Shaker said.

But changes in law are also slowly beginning to wield their influence in the courtroom.

Last month, WADI’s Shaker served as prosecutor in the trial of Osman Ali Mohammed who killed his wife in front of their children. Decades before, when Mohammed himself was still a child, his own mother had been killed in a slaying orchestrated by her brothers.

On May 20, he was convicted to 15 years imprisonment for the crime, a breakthrough for women’s rights in Kurdistan.

As Mohammed was removed from the court, he turned toward a small gathering of women, among them Bahar Muzir and other members of Zhyan. He spat threats and abhorrent insults at the women vowing he would not serve his time, and would exact revenge against each of them.

Stop FGM Kurdistan Event in London July 13, 2014 | 11:33 am

Palestinians and Kurds July 12, 2014 | 05:37 pm

Like the Palestinians, the Kurds deserve a state. Unlike most of the Palestinian leadership, the Kurds have played a long and clever game to bring them to freedom.

This is what Barham Salih, the former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told me years ago: “Compare us to other liberation movements around the world. We are very mature. We don’t engage in terror. We don’t condone extremist nationalist notions that can only burden our people. Please compare what we have achieved in the Kurdistan national-authority areas to the Palestinian national authority. … We have spent the last 10 years building a secular, democratic society, a civil society.” What, he asked, have the Palestinians built?

So too, Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, once told me this: “We had the opportunity to use terrorism against Baghdad. We chose not to.”

In 2005, the Palestinians of Gaza, free from their Israeli occupiers, could have taken a lesson from the Kurds — and from David Ben-Gurion, the principal Israeli state-builder — and created the necessary infrastructure for eventual freedom. Gaza is centrally located between two large economies, those of Israel and Egypt. Europe is just across the Mediterranean. Gaza could have easily attracted untold billions in economic aid.

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Kampagne “You can’t beat me” June 27, 2014 | 09:42 pm

Für die Spielerinnen des Vereins aus Halabja ist klar: Der Kampf um den Ball und der Kampf für die Rechte von Mädchen und Kindern gehören zusammen. Häusliche Gewalt, Zwangsehen und Ehrtötungen von Mädchen sind in der gesamten kurdischen Gesellschaft verbreitet.

Deshalb unterstützen die Spielerinnen des Mädchen Fußball Clubs Halabja eine Aufklärungskampagne, die unter dem Slogan „You can’t beat me“ für Mädchenrechte und den Schutz vor Gewalt und Ausbeutung wirbt. Dies war ein Wunsch der Mädchen und auch ihre Familien unterstützen sie dabei. Mit ihrem öffentlichen Auftreten für ihren Sport und die Rechte von Mädchen sind sie ein Vorbild für viele andere in der Region.

Viele Mädchen in Irakisch-Kurdistan möchten Fußball spielen. Doch die Möglichkeiten sind begrenzt. In nur wenigen Orten haben sich bislang Sportclubs für Mädchen gegründet. Es fehlt an Knowhow, an Plätzen, an Unterstützung. Eine reguläre Liga existiert nicht. WADI fördert die Bemühungen von Mädchen, Vereine zu gründen und setzt sich dafür ein, dass eine regionale Mädchenfußball-Liga entsteht. Unterstützen Sie die Kampagne und fördern auch Sie Sportprojekte mit Mädchen.

Den ganzen Beitrag lesen


Normalisierung June 25, 2014 | 12:04 pm

Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) have met in the Turkish capital of Ankara to engage in discussions regarding the future of Syrian Kurdistan.

BasNews has learned that that both the KDP and PYD delegates in Turkey have agreed to stop attacking each other over the press, and have resolved to work together to clear problems on the border between Iraqi-Syrian Kurdistan.

Also both delegations have agreed to normalize the situation in Syrian Kurdistan so that every Kurdish party and organization can work and be active in that area of the autonomous region.


Kurdisches Öl für Israel June 20, 2014 | 12:32 pm

Iraqi Kurdistan looked set to unload its first cargo of disputed crude oil in Israel from its new pipeline after weeks of seeking an outlet as Iraq’s central government has threatened legal action against any buyer.

The SCF Altai tanker was anchored near Israel’s Ashkelon port early on Friday morning, ship tracking and industry sources said. The tanker is expected to dock early on Saturday, local sources said.

Securing the first sale of oil from its independent pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is crucial for the Kurdish Regional Government as it seeks greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq.


Unter der Herrschaft der PYD June 19, 2014 | 11:53 am

Human Rights Watch hat heute einen langen Bericht veröffentlicht, in dem der PYD in Syrisch-Kurdistan schwerste Menschenrechtsverletzungen vorgeworfen werden:

The 106-page report documents arbitrary arrests of the PYD’s political opponents, abuse in detention, and unsolved abductions and murders. It also documents the use of children in the PYD’s police force and armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

YouTube Video


Halbja Girl’s Soccer team June 18, 2014 | 10:41 pm

In the Middle East, women who want to play football are often met with either disapproval or prohibition, but not the girls in Halabja, Iraq. In this Kurdish town marked by Saddam Hussein’s notorious 1988 poison gas attack and a long period of domination by conservative Islam, it is football which is now offering women a way forward. Hivos and partner organisation Wadi are supporting the Halabja Girls on their way.

Problems such as female genital mutilation, domestic violence and arranged marriages are hard to fight without a support network. Football is not just a physical outlet for girls and women in Halabja, but a welcome opportunity to leave the house, meet with their peers and be active. It gives girls a “time-out” from omnipresent gender roles and helps them gain the strength and self-confidence to develop their own ideas of a life beyond the rigid demands of tradition.

Although in 2011 legislation (law No. 8) was passed in Iraqi Kurdistan to prohibit domestic violence against women and children, the practice is still prevalent. So the girls campaign against domestic violence with the appropriate slogan “You can’t beat me” and hope thus to encourage vigorous enforcement of this law.

More and more girls in the region are joining football teams. For the 12-year-old Dastan, top scorer of her team in Halabja, the right to play sports is intimately linked to the right to grow up free from oppression and violence.

Find out more about how Wadi and Hivos are supporting women’s football teams in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Ruhe in Irakisch-Kurdistan June 18, 2014 | 10:39 pm

In anderen Teilen des Irak finden gerade heftige Kämpge mit den Terroristen von ISIS statt, Menschen sind zu Zenhtausenden auf der Flucht, die Zukunft ist ungewiss. Irakisch-Kurdistan dagegen ist ruhig, das Leben geht normal seinen Gang (hoffen wir alle, dass es so bleibt) und auch WADI arbeitet weiter, ebenso unsere lokalen Partner. Partner, mit denen wir sowohl in Kirkuk, Bagdad als auch dem Südirak kooperieren sind ebenfalls alle wohlauf.

Aus Halabja erreichten uns gerade diese Bilder über die neuesten Sommeraktivitäten von Radio und Frauenzentrum:

Peshmerga Control All Kurdish Territories in Iraq June 17, 2014 | 03:04 pm

Kurdish forces are in control of all their claimed but disputed territories in Nineveh and Kirkuk, but facing a harder task in Diyala which is a stronghold of armed Islamist groups in Iraq, Kurdish officials said.
Large parts of Nineveh province, including the capital Mosul, fell into the hands of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last week, among them areas that fall within the “disputed territories” claimed by both the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central government in Baghdad. After the Iraqi army beat a hasty retreat and deserted en masse, the Kurds moved into areas left vacant by the fleeing soldiers.


Kurdish villages declare themselves FGM-free June 17, 2014 | 01:36 pm

For ten years, Hivos partner WADI has been campaigning against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iraqi Kurdistan. Director Thomas von der Osten-Sacken finds that communities are slowly but surely turning away from this degrading tradition.

The Iraqi-German human rights organisation WADI first came upon the harrowing consequences of FGM in the Kurdish Autonomous Region through its mobile teams. “At that time, it was thought that FGM barely existed in Iraq. FGM was seen as an ‘African problem’,” says von der Osten-Sacken. “Right now in publications people talk of about 140 to 160 million women who have been genitally mutilated worldwide. But Indonesia – the country with the largest Muslim population in the world – is not included, and it is estimated that about 80 percent of women are circumcised there. If you add Iraq, Iran, Oman, Yemen and Malaysia, you come to the conclusion that the number of victims of FGM is probably twice as high.”

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Kurdistan and ISIS June 16, 2014 | 11:06 pm

This new reality on the ground leaves the country’s Kurds, who see both perils — but also opportunities — in the mayhem, with hard choices to make.

A clear majority of Kurds, although unmistakably not part of the bloody sectarian battle between Sunnis and Shiites, identify themselves as Sunnis. But since the fall of the former regime in 2003, Kurds have effectively been in government coalitions with the country’s Shiites, who would unlikely be able to govern Iraq without the direct blessing of the powerful Kurdish factions in the north.

With the Sunnis strengthening their roots in the bordering areas through insurgency, Kurdish political parties have followed the events with a watchful eye, leaving all options open.

“If the Sunni insurgents become a reality in these areas, we have to come to terms with them, or at least, we should then see them as a new force,” says Arif Taifour, a senior member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the largest Kurdish party.

But the general mood among Kurds is still very hostile towards ISIS militants.


Stand by the Iraqis and Kurds now! June 13, 2014 | 09:36 am

The voice of a British Left Winger. This is how Internationalism should sound these days. Let’s never forget Chritopher Hitchens, Paul Berman and all the other leftists and liberals who support the toppling of Saddam, because it was simply the right thing to do as all other dictators and tyrants in this region.

ISIS, Iran, Assad, the Saudis and Erdogan. They are all still dead scared of the idea democracy and federalism could could work one day in this region. One day, not tomorrow, not in a year, but one day. And people proved over and over again that this is what so many of them want and are ready to demonstrate and even die for.

So thank you John Mc Ternan for these clear words!

The truth is that the US and UK left Iraq before it was ready, and they left for their own selfish, domestic political reasons. The ordinary Iraqis left behind have never abandoned hope – the turnout at the recent election was greater than the gridlocked Iraqi political class perhaps deserves, and showed a thirst for freedom. Supporting the Middle East’s second full democracy after Israel is still the noble cause it was when I was in No 10 working for Tony Blair, and when I worked in the prime minister’s office in Baghdad. Complex conflicts need strategic patience – the kind that won the cold war. It will take as least as long to rebuild Iraq as it took Saddam Hussein to destroy it.

There is no way that the UK can stand aside at Iraq’s moment of greatest need. We have a responsibility to those whose democracy we created. Those who are not utterly silent are sullen, muttering that Blair and Bush caused all this, that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq before 2003. Let’s be clear what that statement really is – bloodless, amoral pragmatism of the type Henry Kissinger excelled in. You might as well say: “Saddam may have been a fascist who inflicted genocide on the Kurds, but at least that kept Iran and the jihadists at bay.” That remark would have the merit of being honest.

The truth is that if we do not act now, we will surely act later. Having protected the freedom and autonomy of the Kurds since the Kuwait war, we cannot abandon them now, or leave them dependent on protection from Iran. We have to go back to Iraq to rescue democracy.

You can’t beat me June 10, 2014 | 02:16 pm

Women’s Rights newspaper issue number 20

“Killing Dünya (‘world’ in Kurdish) is killing the whole world” June 3, 2014 | 09:03 pm

On 23 May a 45 year-old man brutally murdered his 15-year-old child bride, Dunya. He cut off her breasts, gouged her eyes, shot her nine times and later dragged her body behind a car.
Many women and men have taken to the streets across Kurdistan to protest against this murder and so many other cases of violence against women and forced and underage marriages.
On June 2Zhyan (‘Life’) Group, Wadi is a founding member of, organized a demonstration in Suleimani city.
The protest started with a silent vigil, followed by statements in which the organizers called the authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder and bring all responsible for Dunya’s forced marriage and death to justice.
The participants marched through the crowded bazaar chanting “Stop marrying off children” and “No to violence against women”.


Calling on men to make Iraqi Kurdistan safer for women June 1, 2014 | 10:20 am

A peaceful demonstration, a candlelight vigil. Again an underage Kurdish girl was married off, abused and killed. I see many shocked friends who once again go through the process of protesting, remembering and most of all trying to raise awareness.

The 15-year-old Dunya is one of many Kurdish women who have fallen victim to a conservative society dominated by males, who set their own rules – even if those rules conflict with those of their own elected government.

Dunya was only one of many underage girls married off to an older man, and her parents are one of many couples who usually get away with it. So was the imam who conducted this marriage. The neighbors did not report it, nor did anyone else who noticed it, or when the abuse started.

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The New Kurdish Government; A Family Affair May 18, 2014 | 08:05 pm

Qubad Talabani, son of Talabani, becomes deputy of prime minister. Prime minister, is Nechirvan Barzani, son of Idris Barzani. Masoud Barzani, son of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, president of KR. Masrour Barzani, Adviser of Protection and Intelligence Agency, son of Masoud Barzani. Lahur Talabani, nephew of Talabani, is chief of Security forces. Mansour Barzani, son of Masoud Barzani, is chief of Gulan Special Peshmerge Forces. Hero Talabani, wife of Talabani, is PUK’s politburo member. -  The list is too long!


Nine Years May 11, 2014 | 08:41 pm

The Staff of Radio Dangue Nwe in Halabja, a close partner of WADI, just celebrated it’s ninth birthday


More Pictures

Zehn Jahre Frauenzentrum in Halabja April 29, 2014 | 01:21 pm

Piroza! Heute feierte das Frauenzentrum in Halabja sein zehnjähriges Jubiläum. In dieser Zeit haben tausende von Frauen die verschiedensten Kurse besucht, Lesen und Schreiben gelernt, an Seminaren teilgenommen oder einfach im Cafe zusammengesessen. Als wir vor zehn Jahren das Zentrum eröffneten, lag der Stur Saddam Husseins kein Jahr zurück, Halabja war bis ins Jahr 2003 hinein von radikalen Islamisten kontrolliert, Frauen konnten sich kaum in der Öffentlichkeit zeigen, geschweige denn sich organisieren.

Dank der Unterstützung so vieler unterschiedlicher Spender und Sponsoren wear es uns möglich, so lange dieses Zentrum zu unterstützen und seine Arbeit zu begleiten. Vieles hat sich seitdem verändert. Ein langer Atem zählt! Und wir hoffen, auch in den nächsten zehn Jahren mit dem, inzwischen als eigenständige lokale NGO registrierten, Zentrum weiter zu arbeiten.

A day to remember April 8, 2014 | 10:02 pm

Today we joyfully remember the 11th anniversary of the toppling of the Saddam regime! Liberation day is a nation-wide holiday commemorating the day when the American-led forces finally freed Iraq from the Baathist tyranny.

Saddam statue down

To appreciate the date, imagine what it must have meant for an area like Halabja. From 1980 on the town was shelled by the Iranians. It became a war zone. People gradually became used to the hardships and miseries of war. They learned how to survive and developed strategies how to escape the attacks: One of the best options was to hide in the basements. In March 1988 Iranian troops together with Kurdish Peshmerga succeeded to capture the town. The former attackers became the new protectors. But only three days later Saddam’s troups bombarded the town with poison gas. Shortly before the attack the people were warned through public loudspeakers. They expected “just” another bombardment. Many fled in the mountains, and many hid in the basements, as usual. But this time this was a fatal decision. Poison gas is heavier than air, it concentrated on the ground. Countless were killed in the cellars, and countless in the streets.

The whole town became a prohibited zone for more than two years. Only in 1991 it was reopened and the remaining survivors returned. Still they managed to survive, although there were no intact houses, no clean water, no clean food, no electricity, and not even medical service which was desperately needed given all the people suffering from the various late-time effects of the poison gas. Then in 1993 the civil war between the two major Kurdish factions began. Halabja was one of the epicenters of the fightings. When the civil war ended in 1997, a radical Islamist group named Ansar al-Islam took over the area and continued their brutal and crazy reign until they were finally ousted by the invading American troups in 2003. It is only 11 years that the region has been living without war and constant fear. We remember.

Silent Revolution March 27, 2014 | 08:53 pm

Her Report portraing Wadi’s Iraq Co-ordinator Falah Murad:

Falah Murad Shakarm is a founder of the Zhyan group that endeavors to shed light on women’s issues in Iraqi Kurdistan, and particularly focuses on the eradication of honor killings. “In the last two years we organized more than 30 protests and public meetings for raising awareness about women’s rights,” he said. “Today 26-3, when I’m busy answering you, I presented a case in court on behalf of the Zhyan group [in which a] husband killed [his wife] after he was released with [a pardon] decree in 2012.”

If there is hope for Kurdish women, it lies with activists like Falah Murad Khan Shakarm. He’s lived through all of the March’s, surviving the March 1988 chemical bombings in Halabja and the March 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein in Rania. He’s lived through this March, hoping for women’s rights with the Nawroz New Year, and he’ll be fighting next March, and every month in between.

“I think women in Kurdistan started their silent revolution against all back-worded morals and the patriarchal system…but I see hope and people now are more educated,” he said. Still, he continued, “Women in Kurdistan, Iraq and all of the Middle East need freedom, respect and they need to be accepted us human beings. They need an environment with rule of law to protect them and they need to be present in all fields of life. They need an independent economy and less of a patriarchal system.”


Why are so many Kurdish women setting themselves on fire? March 20, 2014 | 12:16 pm

The Economist runs an article about women comitting suicide in Iraqi-Kurdistan and quotes Falad Murad Shakaram, Wadi’s Iraqi project coordinator:

ON MARCH 8th, while the world celebrated International Women’s Day to recognise progress in women’s rights, two women in Iraqi Kurdistan set themselves on fire. Self-immolation as a dramatic and deadly form of protest by women is known across the Middle East, from Egypt to Pakistan. But it has become alarmingly common in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. By some estimates self-burning has claimed the lives of as many as 10,000 women, including girls as young as 13, since the region gained autonomy in 1991.

 “I can say it has happened in every family,” says Falah Muradkan-Shaker of the Kurdish NGO WADI, which tries to tackle violence against women in all its forms. The phenomenon can only be understood in the wider context of women’s rights in Kurdistan, he says. Survivors of self-burning often explain that they felt trapped in traditional, arranged marriages, which in some cases means they were betrothed at birth to cousins or tribal kinsmen. A majority have also faced some form of domestic violence whether by fathers, husbands, or in-laws.

Honour killings by male family members are still common in Kurdistan, despite laws aimed to protect women. Mr Muradkan-Shaker says this leads many Kurdish women to view their families not as protectors but as “people who might attack you at any minute.” Unable to leave abusive marriages for fear of being killed by their partners or families, and without government support for vulnerable women, victims turn to suicide. “She feels she is dead,” Mr Muradkan-Shaker explains. “So she says, ‘I’m already dead; let’s make the process faster.’”

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