Yanar Mohammed – Irak

Linked with the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq OWFI, and with Honor Killings in the New Iraq, The Murder of Du’a Aswad.

She says: “After this war started on Iraq I immediately decided to go back to set up an organization and to be the voice for free women there, and since the beginning, in my organization, we decided to do demonstrations, to do campaigns, to make petitions, and to see whatever is needed. And it started with speaking out against the human trafficking of women, and we were the first to demonstrate. It was a few months after the [March 2003] beginning of the war – in August 2003 – we started that. But later on, our work was mainly on sheltering women from honor killings, and also on seeking out the reports of women’s trafficking, and later on in the last two years we found out – especially after the breakout of the scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison, we found out that it is very important to have a presence in all the women’s prisons and see what’s happening there. So, we managed to become regular visitors to the central prison – it’s called Khadamiyah, a women’s prison, and we interviewed all the women in there, and we found out terrible things happening before they reached the prison. Six of them, actually, spoke out about being assaulted, about being raped, some of them serially raped by the staff of the police station before they reached the prison. So, we decided: This is a program that we will have to pursue immediately. And the surprise here is that most of this work we do with very minimal funding – mostly depending on volunteer work”. (full text, May 18, 2007).

Read: Feminists Yanar Mohammed of Iraq and Dr. Sima Samar of Afghanistan on the Dire Situation for Women Under U.S. Occupation and Rising Fundamentalism, May 14, 2007.

Irak-photos: bombed people.

Yanar Mohammed - Irak two.gif

Yanar Mohammed – Irak

She works for Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq OWFI.

The 2007 honorees receiving the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Global Women’s Rights were Dr. Sima Samar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and highest-ranking female in the Afghan government; Yanar Mohammed, founder and president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq; Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Waves, a mobile clinic offering safe abortions and inspiring legalization campaigns internationally; and Laurie David, environmental leader and producer of the Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. (full text, May 18, 2007).

Read: Bringing feminism to Iraq, May 10, 2007.

Read: Women Under Attack, The Talibanization of Iraq, May n09, 2007.

Read: Voices from the Front—Women Face a “Mutilated Beast”. May 01, 2007.

She says also: “In this last year, the challenges, or let’s say the dangers, became very imminent. Some days it was hard for activists to arrive at our office. For many reasons. But the biggest one, the one that comes first to my mind, is you’re speaking about a city of different militias, each of them funded by another country and fighting amongst themselves. Everybody is hanging out with their machine guns. It’s a place where speaking about your rights is not a priority for these militias. Some sort of government is trying to survive while doing a new military security plan every other month. At times, your whole neighborhood is surrounded by military who are searching houses, or streets are closed for some international conference where they are trying to solve political issues, though nothing is being solved. Imagine living in a city where you can reach your office three days a week. Then again, we’re thankful on the days when we don’t face the enemies of women with machine guns and they’re asking us questions: what do you guys do?” (full text, May 11, 2007).

President Bush promised that a U.S. war would improve the situation of women in Iraq. Instead, Iraqi women have been besieged by violence, unemployment and other crises set off by the occupation. (full text, 2006).

And she says: “The first losers in all of this were women. That was because of the mixed-up politics that came with occupation. The country is under the authority of Islamic militias: Shiite Islamic militias, who are in power, or Sunni Islamist militias, who are underground. Sometimes they compete. What is the first thing they do? Sadr City, which is a Shiite suburb of Baghdad, is considered to be the proletariat part of Baghdad, the source of social and political change for Iraq’s future. If you go to this city, it’s under the authority of Shiite Islamist militias. The kind of veil the women wear there is usually black. At its worst, the women look like black objects: black gloves and black stockings, no flesh can show. I have never before in my life seen young women dressed like that. In 1993, when I left Iraq, I had never seen the black gloves. Now you go to Baghdad and with the high level of poverty you see women begging on the sides of the street; even the beggars wear black”. (full text, May 01, 2007).

Yanar Mohammed est une femme politique irakienne, née à Bagdad en 1960. Diplomée de l’université de Bagdad en 1984, puis de Toronto en 1993, Yanar Mohammed est architecte et céramiste. On lui doit notamment le décor céramique du hall d’entrée du siège de la Canadian-Arab Federation à Toronto. Elle est par ailleurs ceinture noire de karaté. Exilée au Canada en 1993 avec son mari et ses enfants, Yanar Mohammed a bénéficié de l’asile politique avant d’obtenir la nationalité canadienne. En 1998, elle participe à la fondation de la coalition Défense des droits des femmes irakiennes, dont elle assume la direction à plusieurs reprises, en 1998, 1999 et 2002. Cette association soutient, à l’échelle internationale, les foyers d’accueil pour femmes menacées de crime d’honneur gêrés par l’Organisation des femmes indépendantes au Kurdistan. En 2003, Yanar Mohammed a choisi de retourner en Irak. Elle participe à la fondation de l’Organisation pour la liberté des femmes en Irak (en:Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq), dont elle est aussitôt élue présidente. Cette association prend la suite de l’Organisation des femmes indépendantes. Elle crée également à Bagdad et Kirkuk des foyers d’accueil pour les femmes menacées de crimes d’honneur. En 2004, l’Organisation pour la liberté des femmes en Irak jour un rôle important dans la campagne contre l’introduction de la charia dans le code de la famille irakien. Yanar Mohammed est alors menacée de mort par les Compagnons de Sahaba, une organisation armée proche des Talibans. En 2005, le magazine Elle l’a consacrée l’une des dix femmes de l’année. Yanar Mohammed a participé à de nombreuses rencontres internationales, notamment en Allemagne, en Grande-Bretagne, au Japon et au Mexique. Yanar Mohammed est membre des bureaux politiques du Parti communiste-ouvrier d’Irak, et du Parti communiste-ouvrier d’Iran – Hekmatiste, ainsi que du conseil central du Congrès des libertés en Irak. (full text on the french wikipedia).

Read: Iraqi women’s rights advocate speaks to STC students, April 20, 2007.

Read: Mid-Valley Town Crier, April 30, 2007.

Read: Islamic Women Fare Better Under Dictators, April 23, 2007.

See also: MADRE’s Sister Organization in Iraq.

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