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 Research reveals high FGM rates in Kurdistan  

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Research reveals high FGM rates in Kurdistan  25.9.2009 
By Arvid Vormann 

September 25, 2009

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq',— Our large-scale research on Female genital mutilation FGM in Kurdistan is reaching the final stage. Right now we are in the process of evaluation. We found some remarkable results, among these the FGM rate:

The average mutilation rate we found is higher than expected: 72,7% of the women are genitally mutilated in the areas of Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Garmyan/New Kirkuk.

We had to leave out the region of Dohuk because we had difficulties with the polling procedure and moreover the data collected seemed to be inconsistent. We found only 4% mutilation rate, which might be right or wrong – we cannot prove it.

In Arbil governorate the rate is comparatively low (63%), in Sulaimaniyah it is as high as 77,9% and in Garmyan it reaches even 81,2%.

Women today seem to have a greater chance to escape FGM than women had some decades ago. The rate among women younger than 20 years old is 57% whereas the rate among women between 50 and 59 is nearly 85%. In Erbil, even among women above 80 years the rate is “only” 80%, but in Garmyan from 60 years onwards it is 100%.

In Sulaimaniyah and Garmyan, we find a sharp decline in the mutilation rate of about 20% among women younger than 20 years old. This is indicating a positive trend. In Erbil, this positive trend seems to have taken place earlier. Nowadays, considering these numbers, the rate in Erbil even seems to be on the rise again.

* Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights violation and a severe form of violence against women and children. In Iraq, as in other countries of the Middle East, official documents of governments and United Nations agencies alike, still neglect this abuse. As a consequence, Women’s groups and human rights organizations, supported by the German NGO Wadi initiated the campaign »Stop FGM Kurdistan

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