Women's rights activists march in Said Sadiq, condemning the murder of two sisters last month. Photo: Facebook
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Following the discovery of the bodies of two sisters in Said Sadiq late last month, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani set up a fact finding delegation to investigate the case.
The aim of the mission was to find accurate information and ascertain facts about the tragic murder of Shler and Halima, (aged 16 and 18), who disappeared on February 11, and were found drowned in a nearby pond two weeks later.
The delegation, chaired by gender expert and member of the Women’s Rights Monitoring Board, Dr. Nazand Begikhani, visited the area and met with the police, public prosecutors, judges, health authorities and representatives of women’s organizations, local population and the family of the two victims.
In an internal report, Begikhani revealed that the two sisters had approached the police seeking help last July.
Based on their file, they were kept in a local government shelter in Sulaimani city, but following a legal order and a Balennama—written document signed between the girls and their family—they were handed over to their family.
The Public Prosecutor of Said Sadiq was suspicious of the decision and asked for the review of the case on two occasions.
The report highlights several shortcomings by government institutions in dealing with the case. In addition, the delegation point to the high level of poverty and lack of government services in the area, which has led to the rise of social violence.
“Women are at the receiving end of such violence,” said Begikhani.
The report urges officials to go beyond their power-sharing disputes and dedicate themselves to improve the standard of living for the local population.
In a statement sent to Rudaw, Begikhani warned that unless an urgent strategy is adopted to address poverty and improve the daily life of the population, violence would crease, with more women falling victims.
On Saturday, the Press Office of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) marked the International Women's Day by reiterating that “the government is dedicated to promote women’s rights in Kurdistan, and will continue its efforts to combat violence against women.”