On the Sidelines of the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council, Maat Organized the Second of a Series of Virtual Events on Celebrating Women's History Month


Ayman Okeil: Several women in northern Yemen, northern Syria, and Iraq are hugely suffering at the hands of armed militias and foreign countries

Kafa ALhashli (Yemen): Dozens of children are imprisoned with their mothers

Reham Hasan (Iraq): ISIS intends to wipe the Yazidi religion off the face of the Earth

Roshin Mustafa (Syria): The violations in Afrin are systematically carried out with the support of the Turkish occupation

Maryam Esmat (Syria): My daughter, I, and granddaughter were arbitrarily arrested, interrogated under torture and threats of rape, and we saw children in prisons, and others were even born there


Coinciding with Women's History Month, and on the sidelines of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights has hosted the second of a series of virtual events on celebrating Women's History Month, under the title "The situation of women in conflict-ridden areas, especially in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen," which was attended by female human rights activists and various speakers from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

The symposium was moderated by Marina Sabry, a researcher at the International Mechanisms Unit for the Protection of Human Rights at Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights, who deeply regretted the alarming situation of women in conflict-ridden areas, the unspeakable violations committed by Yemen's Houthi militia and Turkey’s-backed terrorist group, ISIS, in Sinjar against women from Kurdish minorities, as well as Turkey’s military interventions and support for terrorist factions in northeastern Syria.

Mr. Ayman Okeil, president of Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights, opened the event with his word, affirming the role of Maat in exposing and highlighting the various violations committed by terrorist militias and its supporting countries against women in conflict-ridden areas, and pointed out that women in northern Syria and northern Yemen, as well as Yazidi women, are the most vulnerable to torture, disappearance, abuse, lack of care, and even murder.

The floor was then given to Ms. Kafa ALhashli, a Yemeni journalist and human rights defender, who mentioned cases of violations committed against Yemeni women, especially in the areas under the Houthis control. ALhashli stated that over 290 women working in the educational sector have been arrested for simply expressing their objection to the new curricula heavily loaded with extremism that were developed in the areas controlled by the Houthi militia. She further added that all observatories for human rights are located in the capital city of Sana'a, under the control of the Houthis.

Then, Ms. Reham Hassan, a witness, and a manager at the Yazidi Women Support Association, spoke about the situation of women in Sinjar, revealing that about 7,000 women and girls have been reportedly kidnapped in Iraq after the ISIS occupation, which is definitely backed by Turkey.

The third speaker was Ms. Roshin Mustafa, a human rights defender and a member of the Human Rights Organization in Afrin, who was joined by Mrs. Maryam Esmat Othman, a victim and an eye-witness from Afrin. In the beginning, Ms. Mustafa explained that there is a media blackout on the violations committed against women in Afrin. She further affirmed that over one thousand women have been kidnapped, and some of them were released in exchange for a ransom.

Afterward, the floor was given to Mrs. Othman, who recounted her own experience with the occupation forces. Mrs. Othman, her daughter, and granddaughter were arrested by Turkish security forces after they stormed her house. For long hours, the three women were interrogated under severe torture and threats of rape. She further indicated that there were many children in prisons, and some of them have been born there.

Discussions have taken place between speakers and participants about the possibility of confronting the Turkish occupation and prosecuting it internationally. One of the participants from Iraq asked about the role of the international community to stop Turkey’s war crimes against women, describing it as a "Turkish bravado." Also, in an intervention by another participant, he indicated that the Houthi leader, Sultan Zaben, was accused of raping and torturing more than 100 women, and wondered about the possibility of bringing these cases to the International Criminal Court. A third participant added that the leader of Sultan Suleiman Shah Brigade militia, Muhammad al-Jassim, nicknamed “Abu Amsha”, kidnapped women for a ransom, and asked about how he could be punished according to international humanitarian law.

The event was concluded by Ms. Zayan Muhammad's intervention in which she spoke about the violations of the Yazidis in Iraq at the hands of ISIS, stressing the fact that the ISIS attack in 2014 was a genocide of Yazidis. Maat, at last, requested all participants to take a survey of opinions on the status of women in the Arab region and Africa.



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