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Iraqi government rejects plans for women’s shelters

The Iraqi government has refused to back plans by civil society associations to open shelters for battered women, claiming that women would use them to leave their husbands, and this would threaten many Iraqi families.
A victim of human trafficking from Iraq, 14, laughs while speaking at a shelter for women and children in Abu Dhabi May 31, 2011. The non-profit shelter was established in Abu Dhabi in 2008, and two more centers have since been established in neighbouring emirates Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah, helping victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking from around the region. REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTR2N4VD

"Living in a jungle ruled by men." This is how Dahaa al-Rawi, the chair of the Women's Committee in the local Baghdad government, described the status of women in Iraq. Women are marginalized and their abilities unrecognized — domestically, socially and politically. Women are subjected to violence of all forms and murder on an ongoing basis.

"We do not have any statistics about the status of women, or the daily violence that they are subjected to," Rawi said, adding, "In Baghdad's local government council, they view us as merely a secondary committee that does not play an important role."

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