|KHRP Calls for International and Local support for Kurdish Women’s Rights Activist Houzan Mahmoud|
KHRP wishes to express its support for Houzan Mahmoud of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq following a recent death threat issued against her by an Islamist group.
Houzan Mahmoud and OWFI are outspoken advocates of women’s rights and secularism in Iraq. They have been critical of the disturbing growth of fundamentalist interpretations of Islam and sectarianism in recent years and its detrimental effect on women’s rights.
Most recently Houzan Mahmoud was campaigning against article 7 of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s constitution, which provides for Shar’ia to be used as a source for legislation. On 26 February she received a death threat by email stating “we will kill you either in Iraq or in London by the middle of March, because you are campaigning against Islam”. The threat was signed Ansar al Islam, a Sunni jihadi group from Iraqi Kurdistan.
KHRP Deputy Director Rachel Bernu stated today
“civil society groups are entitled to campaign for political and
constitutional change without fear of intimidation and violent threats,
indeed, freedom to do so is essential for a healthy democracy. The
activities of OWFI are a positive sign for democracy in Kurdistan and
Iraq. KHRP condemns the threats made against the life of Houzan Mahmoud
as an affront to democracy and a violation of her right to the peaceful
expression of her beliefs”. In a region where all too often civil
rights take a back seat to security concerns KHRP believes that it is
the obligation of the Coalition Forces, Iraqi government and the
Kurdish Regional Government to make every effort to support and
encourage such examples of free speech, and afford Ms. Mahmoud and the
members of OWFI every assistance and protection in the exercise of
their democratic freedoms.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Kurdish Human Rights Project
Kurdish Human Rights Project is an independent, non-political human rights organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of the human rights of all people in the Kurdish regions. It is a registered charity, founded and based in London
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