On International Women’s Day: Rise in Domestic Violence and Honor Crimes Cases in the Middle East

Published March 8th, 2021 - 07:35 GMT
Women's situation in the Middle East
(Shutterstock/File Photo)

By Sally Shakkour

International Women’s Day; the world has set March 8th every year to celebrate women’s day. On this day people across the globe usually mark women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements as well as the positive change in women’s situation every year towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

However, let’s talk more about the other side of women’s current status in the Middle East, lost rights, as well as how crimes and violence against females have been on the rise during the past years especially after the pandemic.

Women’s Situation in Jordan

Jordan has reported an increase in crimes against women last year; the country reported 18 murder cases against females only in 2020. During the Coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence cases have also risen. 800 cases were reported in 3 months only.

Women's situation in Jordan

Translation: “Jordanian brother kills his sister for making a social media account.”

Women’s Situation in Algeria

According to an Algerian Feminist group who call themselves Towards A Collective Female Awareness, Algeria has reported a bad year in terms of crimes committed against women reporting 39 crimes last year. In 2019, 60 crimes were announced. However, the group says, “this is only the outlined numbers and we think the unsaid number is much more than reported.”

Translation: “"Femicide is part of a larger crime, one in a series of successive and mutually reinforcing episodes in affirming its oppressive and oppressive decision against women." Women whose lives are violated: Femicide is on the rise in Algeria -”

Women’s Situation in Lebanon

Lebanon is in fact not super different from Jordan or Algeria when it comes to women’s rights, equality, domestic violence and honor crimes. According to Human Rights Watch’s report, the Lebanese government are failing to protect women and girls from violence and end discrimination against them.

Under Covid lockdown, domestic violence against women and girls in Lebanon has increased. Around 60% of women who contacted Lebanese women’s protection non-governmental organization KAFA’s hotline for the month of March were doing so for the first time; the country reported 4,127 violence cases in 2020, up from 1,375 in 2019, according to ABAAD data.

Women’s Situation in Iraq

The nationwide lockdown in Iraq has lent women in terrible situations due to unfinished war and a continuous economic crisis in the country as statistics showed a spike in domestic violence against females. Data revealed that violence rose 30% since the curfew while in some areas it jumped into 50%.

Women’s Situation in Turkey

In conjunction with International Women's Day, Turkish female activists have organized a protest to stop violence against women in Istanbul regarding the fact that around 300 crimes were announced in 2020.

Translation: "Turkey ranks second in the world in human rights violations and violence against women, which has increased to reach 28 femicide cases in the last month only."

Women’s situation in Syria

Syria has been suffering around a decade old civil war which has caused supper difficult humanitarian situations for people to live in. However, females are always the most to suffer. At least 1.6 million people are living in internal displacement camps or settlements; 80% of whom are women and children, UNFPA reported.

“Girls in northwest Syria continue to bear the brunt of the crisis in Syria, and are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence,” said Reem Khamis, who coordinates UNFPA’s response to gender-based violence in northwest Syria.

Despite women’s harsh situation in the Middle East and the challenges they have to go through to reach their simplest rights; activists in the region shall never give up and must continue striving until gender equality is achieved; while the governments’ role lies in making major law reforms to end gender-based violence, halt honor crimes, and assure equal living conditions for both females and males.

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