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WikiLeaks: 2005-07-20: 05BAGHDAD3014: Women Demonstrate Against Draft Constitution Provisions on Equality and Personal Rights

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 08:22 PM CT


Viewing cable 05BAGHDAD3014, WOMEN DEMONSTRATE AGAINST DRAFT CONSTITUTION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05BAGHDAD3014 2005-07-20 14:36 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Baghdad
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003014 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.  PLEASE HANDLE 
ACCORDINGLY.  NOT FOR INTERNET DISSEMINATION. 
 
E.O. 12958 DECL: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV IZ KWM
SUBJECT: WOMEN DEMONSTRATE AGAINST DRAFT CONSTITUTION 
PROVISIONS ON EQUALITY AND PERSONAL RIGHTS 
 
1.  (U) PolFSN witnessed a sit-in demonstration on 
July 19 that was organized and sponsored by the Iraqi 
Women's Net. (NOTE: The Iraqi Women's Net is a network 
of more than 75 women's non-governmental organizations 
(NGO).  END NOTE.) The sit-in took place in a tent 
overlooking the Sheraton and Meridian hotels at 
Firdous Square in Baghdad's city center.  The aim of 
the sit-in demonstration was to protest several 
articles proposed for inclusion in the draft 
constitution.  (NOTE: There is still no "final text" 
of a draft constitution, but debate on what should be 
included continues.  END NOTE.) 
 
2.  (U) More than 30 NGOs and approximately 150 women 
from all over Iraq attended the sit-in.  Participants 
included the Iraqi Women's Net, Al Amal, Women for 
Peace, Iraqi Women's League, Baghdad Women's 
Association, Faili Kurd Women's Union, Sara 
Organization, Communist Party, Iraqi Women's Freedom 
Organization, and the Chaldo-Assyrian Women's Union. 
 
3.  (U) The sit-in focused on several aspects of a 
proposed draft constitution that has been provided to 
and disseminated by the press and NGOs, as well as 
Constitution Committee and National Assembly members. 
The women raised specific issues during this event, 
including the question of nationality, equal and 
guaranteed rights for women as mothers, workers, and 
citizens, the prevention of violence against women, 
and the quota system. 
 
4.  (U) The women demanded that the constitution 
drafting deadline be extended, rejected the 
reactivation of Proposition 137 (septel), and lobbied 
for a quota for female representation of not less than 
40 percent in all decision-making positions.  They 
also rejected any time limitations on this quota 
requirement.  Additionally, the group said it wants 
international human rights standards and agreements as 
a source for Iraqi legislation. 
 
5.  (U) Both local and international media covered the 
event.  Among those present were Al Hurra TV, Sawa 
Radio, Associated Press, Turkish TV, BBC, CNN, French 
TV, "New York Times," Reuters, Iraqiya TV, Fayha'a TV, 
and Sumariya TV.  Numerous representatives of women's 
organizations spoke to the media, including Hana'a 
Edwar (Al Amal), Shirooq Hussain (Tareeq Al Sha'ab 
newspaper), Bashaier Khalil (Iraqi Women's League), 
and Shatha Naji (Women for Peace). 
 
6.  (SBU) COMMENT.  The women attending the sit-in 
strike represented the spectrum of Iraq's ethnic and 
religious diversity.  Their message was translated 
into a series of recommendations that was submitted to 
the Constitution Committee.  However, there are many 
Islamic women who support a more prominent role for 
Shari'a in the draft constitution.  According to the 
media, these women held a counter-protest to the 
Firdous Square event.  Throughout the constitution 
drafting process and in the run-up to the referendum, 
it is important for women to continue to organize and 
participate in similar efforts to ensure that they 
have a voice in the political process.  END COMMENT.

 


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