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Women and Girls Face Fear of Violence in "World's Newest Democracy"

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Issue: 26 Section: International News Iraq Topics: Women

February 28, 2005

Women and Girls Face Fear of Violence in "World's Newest Democracy"

During the same week that George Bush proclaimed Iraq to be the "world's newest democracy" in a speech to EU and NATO leaders in Brussels, Amnesty International released a report condemning US forces and Iraqi authorities for doing too little to protect women and girls from violence and other forms of oppression.

According to the report entitled, Iraq: Decades of suffering, now women deserve better, the lack of security resulting from the 2003 war "has forced many women out of public life and constitutes a major obstacle to the advancement of their rights."

While the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein, a decade of economic sanctions, and two previous wars with Iran and the United States are also cited as negative factors contributing to the current maltreatment of women, US-led forces and Iraqi authorities are blamed for doing little to reverse the negative trends of the past.

Deteriorating health and education services and low female participation in the political process and workforce are serious issues that the Amnesty report claims have been met with indifference by the Iraqi authorities. In addition, few measures have been taken to protect women from increasing "violence in the family and community."

The report is also highly critical of the treatment of Iraqi women by US-led forces since the 2003 invasion. Members of the US-led forces have been accused of subjecting women to "sexual threats," and for sexually abusing and perhaps even raping women detained in prisons.

» Amnesty International, Iraq: Decades of suffering, now women deserve better

» AlterNet: The Veil of Freedom

» Toronto Star: Iraqi women live in fear, Amnesty says

» BBC: Mideast peace is our goal – Bush

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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