Members of the Women Advisory Group – Kurdistan Region (WAG - KR) met in Erbil on 23 May to discuss current and emerging political, economic and security issues that affect Kurdish women. The group complements the women advisory group in Baghdad established in 2019 to engage with UNAMI on issues impacting the women, peace, and security agenda.
The idea to form the group in the KR followed a discussion between SRSG Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and a group of Kurdish women activists last October, where issues impacting communities in the Region, including protection of women, were raised. WAG- KR is expected to function as a forum to promote coalition-building and strong cooperation among Kurdish women from different political, religious, and ethnic affiliations and interests.
Facilitating the discussion, Idah Muema, UNAMI Senior Gender Advisor, stated that “it is expected that WAG members will bring forward their knowledge, experience, and insights to support UNAMI’s mandate on Gender, Women, Peace, and Security including promoting women’s involvement, representation and participation in political and electoral processes.”
Former minister of women affairs and writer on women issues, Nermine Uthman Hassan, explained that the advisory group will be instrumental in discussing the “elections, appointment of women in decision-making positions, and the situation of IDPs and returnees”.
In his interaction with the group, Ricardo Rodriquez, head of office of the UN Regional office in the Kurdistan Region, encouraged members to use the platform to promote the women, peace, and security agenda.
At the end of the meeting, political and civil activist, Pakhshan Zangana, stressed the importance of working in this group with UNAMI to address political and economic issues. “We did a very good thing today. The issues we discussed touched on the political issues and it’s important to hear the perspectives of Kurdish women. I hope that our group will not be neglected after a while”, she commented.
Qumrya Muhammad of the Kurdistan Justice Group expressed her satisfaction to be working with other women from different ethnicity and political parties, stating that “the platform provides an opportunity for women to consult and contribute to the crucial issues for a better Kurdistan Region".
In the same vein, Suaad Razak from the Gorran Movement said, “We have the will to work and we are happy to be receiving support from UNAMI to achieve our goals”.