Iraqi Civil Society and a Difficult Task

  • Written by:

AUntitled-1lyaa Alansari
Bent Al Rafedain organization / Women’s rights activist

Every year on the 25th of November the world celebrates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and international organizations and women’s organizations in all quarters of the globe are engaged in reviving this anniversary in various ways depending on the location and culture of their people.
After 2003 and the emergence of the Iraqi civil society as a motive for democracy and its support for democracy, many organizations including women’s organizations have been preoccupied with women’s issues and defending their rights, and this day has been a milestones for women to demand those rights and announce women’s sufferings in Iraq through numerous activities and events including demonstrations, conferences, seminars, talk shows and other different media programs.
But the question remains: Have we achieved any concrete results in real life?
What is the reality of Iraqi women now, eleven years after democracy and this democratic transition?
Unfortunately, despite all the resources allocated by international organizations to support women’s rights and the implementation of several programs for women empowerment and rehabilitation to enable them to perform their leading role in the community or to claim their rights and their right to a decent life, Iraqi women still suffer from the worst situations and most complex conditions of life, on all the stances of private life, the services provided for them and their standard of living.
Today under the current circumstances of Iraq, the situations and circumstances are getting worse. In addition to all the types of violence that have been recorded in the Iraqi Women’s life and their marginalization and exclusion and lack of legal and social protection, women have been displaced from their hometowns and uprooted from their dreams and reality and have been forced to move to strange places or kidnapped in addition to the loss of a husband and father and son by murder or abduction or homelessness everywhere.
Figures are frightening when it comes to victims of terrorism, and there are corresponding figures for widows and bereaved women and orphans. The frightening figures of martyrs and the wounded from the Iraqi army correspond to scary figures of mothers and wives and daughters. The death toll which harvests the souls of men every day is the same toll of homelessness, fear, anxiety and loss for women
So what is the present reality we can observe or talk about? The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Iraq passes by us covered in blood and sorrow, dressed in mourning black, overloaded with pain and fear.
Despite all this, we have a big responsibility, and the task ahead of the civil society and particularly women’s organizations is massive, heavy and dangerous too if we record the complete absence of state institutions in the protection of women and to secure a decent life for them.
Iraqi civil society has a huge responsibility, and should prove worthy of it, both in support and protection, or by pressuring the state institutions and activating their role in order to pay attention to women and what ails them and their children in the light of the rapid tolls of death, displacement and loss.