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KRG Prime Minister: I will steadfastly uphold and champion the legitimate rights of women in Kurdistan

On Tuesday, October 31, 2023, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani attended a ceremony in Erbil to mark the anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. The event was organised by the High Council for Women and Development, in collaboration with the UN Commission on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women).

The following transcript comprises a speech delivered at the event by the Prime Minister:

“In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,

“I commend the High Council for Women and Development, as well as the UN Commission on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), for organising this event commemorating the anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

“This resolution stands out as a crucial and historic moment for the Security Council, leaving a lasting impact on the plight of women, particularly in regions marred by conflict and instability, where women bear the brunt of the consequences.

“The primary goal of this decision is to address and eradicate violence against women in times of war, while also fostering women’s involvement in solidifying peace and empowering their participation in political decision-making and positions of authority.

“Kurdish society, and the Kurdistan Region, have endured years of war and devastation. The Kurdish people have confronted numerous wars, military assaults, massacres, and widespread destruction over the past century. Notably, Kurdish women have consistently borne the brunt of these conflicts and attacks.

“During the 1980s, the Kurdistan Region and its people endured a harrowing period marked by a brutal genocidal campaign. In the infamous Anfal campaigns and chemical attacks, tens of thousands of innocent lives in Kurdistan were tragically lost, as they fell victim to the ruthless brutality of the Iraqi Ba’athist regime.

“During the attacks of ISIS terrorists on the Kurdistan Region, especially on Sinjar and its surroundings, thousands of our Yazidi brothers and sisters were massacred, and thousands of Yazidi women were taken as slaves by ISIS terrorists. Similarly, Christians, Kakais, and all ethnic communities of the Kurdish people have not been exempt from the oppression and terrorist acts of ISIS.

“After the liberation of Sinjar and its surroundings from the control of ISIS terrorists by the Kurdistan Peshmerga Forces, led by President Massoud Barzani, the (KRG) initiated a comprehensive effort to rescue Yazidi women who had been kidnapped by ISIS. Fortunately, a significant number of them have been successfully liberated, and ongoing efforts are in place to secure the release of the remaining captives.

“On this significant occasion, we underscore the vital importance of implementing the Sinjar Agreement to bring an end to the prevailing state of emergency and instability in the Sinjar region. It is imperative for illegal armed groups to vacate the area, paving the way for the safe return of refugees to their homes.

“In the face of numerous tragedies and massacres inflicted upon the Kurdish people, the Kurdistan Region stands unwavering as a sanctuary for those seeking refuge from terrorism, war, and violence in various parts of Iraq. Currently, hundreds of thousands of refugees from diverse communities continue to find solace in the peace that the Kurdistan Region offers. Our commitment remains steadfast — to foster a discourse rooted in love and promote peaceful coexistence.

“Women in Kurdistan have consistently held prominent and pioneering roles throughout our people’s history. In certain stages and locales, they’ve assumed leadership positions, actively contributing to the challenging phases of the Kurdish people’s liberation struggle. We take pride in their active participation in revolutions and uprisings.

“After the March 1991 uprising and the establishment of the KRG and Parliament, the role and participation of Kurdish women in the political process and governance have significantly evolved. Presently, women play a crucial and integral role in the political processes and administration, contributing significantly to the region’s development and progress.

“The KRG is actively committed to enhancing and advancing the role of women in government. Our efforts aim to eradicate all forms of marginalisation of women in political decision-making and governance, while steadfastly combating violations of women’s rights and violence.

“At the Kurdistan Region level, we remain committed to fostering an inclusive environment that empowers Kurdish women to actively contribute to the state-building, reconstruction, and development of Kurdistan. Locally, our focus is on strengthening their capabilities to enable more impactful participation in institutional management.

“We will also collaborate with local and international entities to amplify the voices of women in Kurdish areas outside the Kurdistan Region’s administrative control, especially those who have been victims of ISIS terrorism. We aim to ensure their voices are heard and provide them with opportunities to actively participate in the ongoing processes.

“In the Kurdistan Region, as a federal entity within Iraq, we are dedicated to the implementation of Resolution 1325. In this regard, we pledge to fulfil our obligations. Nevertheless, the execution of this resolution demands collective responsibility, necessitating cooperation, coordination, and the amalgamation of efforts from all parties involved.

“Congratulations once again on this anniversary. I want to assure the women of Kurdistan that I will continually support their legitimate rights, empowering them to achieve their goals based on their abilities and skills. It is my commitment to ensure they have their rightful role and position in all spheres of society.

“May you find happiness and prosperity.”

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