PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUESDAY 07 MARCH 2006
IRAQI WOMEN'S RIGHTS EXPERT IN WALES
Tomorrow, International Women’s Day, Amnesty International will host Houzan Mahmoud, an expert on women’s freedom in Iraq on a visit to the National Assembly for Wales. Houzan will attend a joint meeting of the All Party Group on International Development and the All Party Women in Democracy Group to discuss the situation for women and women’s rights in Iraq. The meeting will also be attended by eight Iraqi women on the UK Women to Watch programme.
Amnesty International Wales has arranged the visit on behalf of the Wales Overseas Agencies Group, observers on the All Party Group for International Development.
Eleanor White, Programme Director, Amnesty International Wales said:
We welcome the fact that the National Assembly is hosting this important meeting to mark International Women’s Day. It is crucial that as part of this discussion they hear an alternative view to mainstream thinking about women and democracy in Iraq. Houzan will certainly provide that perspective and we are looking forward greatly to her contribution to the meeting.
Houzan is an inspiring speaker. Her arguments for a secular Iraq are convincing and powerful. She portrays a point of view not often heard in the West or seen in the media and is able to speak from her own experience on the ground, in Iraq. We are honoured to host her for this visit.
Media information and interviews with Houzan Mahmoud:
Eleanor White, Amnesty International Wales 029 2037 5610/07855 344458
Houzan Mahmoud is a member of the Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). The OWFI has been campaigning for a secular Iraq, based partly on an existing tradition of this in the country. Houzan is Editor in Chief of Equal Rights Now! The OWFI’s in-house publication.
OWFI has been compiling information on violence against women in Iraq since 20 March 2003. They have documented instances of kidnappings, rape, killings, selling women for $100, attempts to impose (Sharia-based) restrictions on work, movement, inheritance and veiling, threats against girls if not veiled, abductions and entertainment marriages (when rich Iraqis pay for marriages of rape over a 1-2-day period.)
A woman to watch is a Foreign and Commonwealth funded delegation of women from Iraq, all with an interest in the role of conflict in impeding women’s rights. The delegation is visiting the National Assembly for Wales as part of a two week stay in the UK, to facilitate learning about prevention of violence against women internationally.
WOAG is a networking body of organisations, dedicated to working together for the promotion of international development and global justice. It aims to promote, represent and increase awareness of issues relating to international development and global justice, and to strengthen the capacity of people in Wales to maximise their impact in the quest for global justice. Current WOAG members are Amnesty International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children and the Welsh Centre for International Affairs