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Yanar Mohammed is the founder of Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), an organization fighting to stop atrocities against women and advocate for women’s social, political and economic rights, and a One Billion Rising activist. She shared the following update about a series of protests OWFI is leading against corruption, the growing unmet need for public services and utilities, and continued lawlessness and violence in Iraq.  

We started the demonstrations simply because we could not stand the heat of the summer without electricity and we raised slogans demanding an end to the corrupt Ministry of Electricity. The numbers of the demonstrators grew so fast that the officials became nervous and started to confess about the corruption of each other.

In the last two weeks, we heard over the televisions confessions of stealing public money which have emptied all our resources and forced poverty and no jobs on the people while the officials gained unimaginable fortunes.

On top of it all, Iraq has the most corrupt justice system now, where law does not prevail. Judges and police stations advise women to resolve to their tribes for protection and empowerment.

It is such a mess.

Our demands at this point are:

  1. A new government where public money cannot be stolen and the justice system is not corrupt, so that laws can prevail.
  2. Safety of Iraqi people and Peace among its parts cannot prevail under the current Islamic sectarian and ethnic rule. The sectarian policies of the government gave way to the creation and empowerment of ISIS. ISIS cannot be terminated by a Shia sectarian government. The constitution acknowledged Islamist rule, and immediately divided Iraqis into religious and ethnic groups. To put it into few words, the demand is: a secular constitution and state.
  3. Freedom and equality for women and minorities to be granted by laws based on international conventions for human rights.
  4.  Military termination of ISIS cannot be final unless egalitarian politics are set in place, through a new transitional government where values of Freedom and Equality prevail.

Iraqi people will no longer tolerate the corrupt sectarian Islamists which were empowered by the U.S. occupation.

Islamist militias who have confiscated all the public money and roam around the streets armed and above the law…all of that will not be tolerated any more.

The current corrupt and hostile Iraqi government should not be supported by the international community anymore. It is time that Iraqi people get the resources of the oil and live in prosperity.

Yanar Mohammed

Organization of Women’s freedom in Iraq, President OWFI

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