On Friday 23rd May 2014, a 15 year’s old child bride was brutality murdered by her 45 years old polygamist husband in Iraqi Kurdistan – district Kalakji. Reports from Iraqi Kurdistan says that the husband removed one of the girl’s eyes, severed her breasts, disembowelled , tied her to a car and dragged her body on the road and then firing nine bullets into her body. Police officials say they were unable to capture the murderer and that he fled the crime scene before the police arrived. The man is now on the run.
Honour Killing is a daily crime committed against women and young girls in the Region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Although hundreds of women fall victims of Honour Killings every year, the authorities seems unable or unwilling to offer them any protection. According to official statistics in the last four months of 2014 alone, 14 women have been murdered.
Multilayers of crimes against Dunya:
Despite the tragic murder of this 15 years old child bride, Dunya, the reports after her death highlights a number of disturbing concerns relating to violence and oppression against women and girls:
1- Child marriage twice:
Though only 15 years old, Dunya was put through another marriage (Bride exchange) when she was 11 years old, which did not work. At the age of 14 she was given to a man, 35 years older than her for 3500 US dollars. The legal age for marriage in Iraqi Kurdistan is 16 years old; which means no one under 16 should be married in the court, but it is known that underage marriage still happens, formally and informally and the authorities are turning a blind eye on them. Many underage girls are either forced or encouraged to marriage, which are usually conducted by a local Cleric in secret.
2- Continues Child abuse , rape and unreported Domestic Violence
The reports and investigation after Dunya’s murder is now bringing out her suffering and the many issues she has to deal with as a child. Speaking to the local media, Dunya ‘s mother is reported to have said that since the marriage 10 months ago, her daughter has been complaining about burns on her hand by her husband and his first wife , continuous beating by the husband’s first wife and his children. She also repeatedly suffered anal rape by her husband and other Domestic violence issues.
3- Official neglects:
The KRG officials are claiming that they are taking many measures to help and protect women and young girls at risk or Honour crimes; including the installation of a helpline, and the setting up of a special departments and training for officers to deal with risks of Honour crimes. Yet according to Dunya’s mother she reported the danger to police hours before her body was found and it was hours before the police turn up to investigate.; The crime took place in the same small town and for hours no police force looked or concerned about Dunya . This is yet another ignorant act by officials in Iraqi Kurdistan.
4- Tribal conciliation
While the perpetrator is still on the run; it is been reported that tribal deals has been offered to Dunya’s father, which is being considered. This is the most shameful and revolting way of dealing with crimes against women especially if the matter is related to “honour” ; if a tribal deal is agreed and Dunya’s father announce his forgiveness for a sum of money ; this will enormously reduce any judicial punishment and undermines the law that should not accepts any justification for killing women in the name of “honour” .
KMEWO and the undersigned organisations call on the Prime Minster of Kurdistan Regional Government ( Nechiravan Barzany) and the Kurdistan Parliament to ensure the following demands are met :
- We at KMEWO holds KRG officials and the Directorate of Investigation DV partially responsible for the crimes; we also holds the police responsible and call for an independent investigation in to their roles in these crimes against Dunya .
- We holds Dunya’s parents and the religious cleric who married her responsible for her suffering and untimely death; all these people must be brought to justice under the act No 8 anti DV law in Iraqi Kurdistan that prohibits child marriage.
- We suspect that the perpetrator is been protected by local tribal leader; we call for an immediate investigation into those who called Dunya’s father for a tribal deal.
- We demand that every effort is made to bring the perpetrator to justice and that no tribal deal should be accepted or reduce the sentence given for this brutal and aggressive crime against a child.
- If because of an official or non-official tribal deal, the complaint against Dunya’s husband is withdrawn; we demand that the Attorney General act on the evidence available and not accepting any deals or forgiveness by Dunya’s parents who are already perpetrators of child marriage.
We call upon all human right organisations, all ante DV and Honour crimes organisations to support us in bringing this perpetrator to justice and not allowing any tribal deals or official’s ignorance to succeed.
Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation