A new update to the Rule of Law Initiative's Iraq Legal Development Project's assessment The Status of Women in Iraq reports that significant progress has been made since 2003 on certain women's rights issues, but security conditions and lack of political will have prevented many of those gains from being realized.
The update to the 2005 assessment by the Iraq Legal Development Project (ILDP) was released in February 2007. It concludes that in areas such as public participation, women have made unprecedented advances. However, in the last year, women have been largely unable to capitalize on this new position due to the country's security climate and a lack of political will to place women in positions of leadership. Women's representation in parliament was guaranteed by a quota in December 2005 elections, but a new law leaves the quota's existence in question. The report concluded that women are also underrepresented in other branches of government, and that violence against women has increased in the past year, including a rise in trafficking, honor killings and rape. The report finds a lack of capacity to address women's health issues and also concludes that the tenuous economic and security situation in Iraq is contributing to de facto discrimination against women in education.
In completing the update, ILDP studied recent reports, analyzed new Iraqi laws and constitutional provisions, and verified its findings with technical experts. In November 2006, ILDP received feedback on the draft report from a 12-member Iraqi focus group consisting of Shi'a and Sunni clerics, members of the judiciary, women's rights activists, lawyers, educators and ministry personnel. The Update is the result of efforts by many experts and staff, including from the ABA MENA Division and the Research and Program Development Office. The update was produced with financial support from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL). The ILDP is part of a larger human rights project the ABA recently completed in Iraq that included support for government-NGO dialogue on human rights issues and training for Ministry of Human Rights and NGO leaders on public legal education techniques.
For more information, please contact Middle East/Iraq Operations Program Manager Susan Goldman, at <email@example.com>.