Persistent Gender Inequality in Iraq Calls for Coordinated Efforts in Developing 2nd National Action Plan on Implementing Resolution 1325
Gender inequality continues to prevail in Iraq with worrisome signals that it is deepening, requiring intensified efforts and coordination in developing a new action plan on implementing UN Security Council resolution 1325, UN Representative to Iraq Ján Kubiš said today at the high-level consultation meeting on the development of the 2nd National Action Plan.
Although he was encouraged to see progress in the protection pillar and dedicated efforts to strengthen the participation pillar in the National Action Plan, the legacy of the conflict with the terrorist Da’esh continues to hamper steps forward and there are other worrying signs of women being targeted.
Mr. Kubiš condemned the recent attacks against women, including the assassination of two women and the sudden death of two others in the past month, all of them active in political and social spheres. Other civil society activists including women are targeted by social media and political threat campaign, among others for their contacts with foreign embassies. This is unacceptable.
“Only once politically and socially active women are protected and safe, Iraq can claim to be making real progress towards women’s equality and empowerment,” he said.
The development of a new NAP with all the diversity and complexity of issues will require continuous coordination and collaboration across sectors, in particular involving civil society, and drawing from the lessons learned from the previous plan, the Special Representative said.
“By making your deliberations open to the society, by publicly broadcasting them you could mobilise even broader support for your objectives,” Mr. Kubiš said.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq noted with disappointment that political forces that negotiate the formation of the government do so, again without the participation of women. “
We all need to ask: “when the political leaders intend to deliver on their pledges to empower women and advance their rights as a part of the democratic entitlement of all Iraqis thus strengthening equal representation and inclusiveness? The time is now. Otherwise, all the exclamations about commitment to equality of women and values of democracy continue to sound hollow.”
Mr. Kubiš outlined UN efforts in support of women empowerment, noting that UNAMI supports women parliamentarians in their quest to establish a cross-political women’s parliamentary caucus. UNAMI will continue to impress on Political Parties who are key to advancing the participation of women in all processes to include women in their leadership structures, urging men advocates to assume a more prominent role, and parliamentarians to consider gender responsive budget in the next budget law to enhance the implementation of the NAP.
The UN will also continue to advocate for the establishment of a dedicated institution in the next government structure with budget and authority to coordinate the implementation of the NAP and national frameworks and policies on WPS.
The UN in Iraq will also mobilise support of the broader international community, including through the International Gender Group from among embassies here in Baghdad, Mr. Kubiš concluded.