The latest two annual reports from the Foreign Ministry (Utrikesdepartementet) of the state of human rights in Iraq indicate that honour violence against women has increased. The report for 2007 reported the deaths of 225 women in the region in the first half of the year alone. A United Nations source is cited in the report as saying that 1-2 new cases are reported each day.
The Swedish Red Cross is vocal in its criticism of the Migration Board’s analysis of the situation in northern Iraq.
“It is serious that the Migration Board paints a picture of the situation in Iraq that does not concur with that held by the government, and that it then forms the basis for its decisions,” said Bengt Westerberg of the Swedish Red Cross to Dagens Nyheter.
The Red Cross is now helping the woman fight the ruling and is assisting her appeal against the deportation order.
According to the Migration Board there is no guiding principle for how the risk of honour violence can be considered in an asylum decision; the threat picture is considered from case to case. The Board’s expert in Iraq questions is quoted by Dagens Nyheter as saying that the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan function and can give “reasonably effective protection against criminality.”
Talking to The Local, Maud Fröberg of the Swedish Red Cross confirmed they have decided to assist the Iraqi woman because their analysis of the situation in Kurdistan concurs with the Foreign Ministry’s; that violence against women in the region is on the increase.