The Guardian December 13, 2000

Appeal from Iraqi Women's League

To all those concerned with women's human rights, which are brutally 
violated by the Iraqi regime.

Whilst the freedom lovers of the world crowned their efforts this year by 
designating in the International Year Against Poverty and Violence on 
Women, the Iraqi regime has throughout recent months embarked upon an 
unannounced and unprecedented [attack on] the world's oldest profession.

Under the pretext of upholding the high moral ground, the authorities have 
beheaded hundreds of supposed prostitutes all over the country, dumping 
their severed heads at their families' doorsteps.

Whilst we do not deny the spread of prostitution among Iraqi society, we 
regard it as a regrettable social phenomenon, the responsibility for which 
should be laid at the doorstep of the Iraqi leader himself.

This drastic measure is supposed to be a deterrent to would-be prostitutes 
as was the severing of limbs to would-be thieves and the branding of 
foreheads and ears of would-be deserters from military service and, as was 
the rape of women in prison and detention centres.

Thus, no organ of the human body has remained immune from mutilation, which 
has become a hallmark of Saddam's regime, which can rightfully claim the 
patent for this gruesome innovation.

These strange social phenomena are manifestations of the consequences of 
opposition to the regime's military campaigns internally and externally.

It was the wars which it waged that killed hundreds of thousands of young 
males of different generations.

Ironically the ending of the last Gulf war has been replaced by the advent 
of the economic sanctions under such circumstances it is hardly surprising 
that some women resort to suicide or selling their bodies to survive or 
feed their children and other members of their families.

It is this very regime which issued special decrees demeaning women, such 
as banning those younger than 54 years from travelling abroad unaccompanied 
by male relatives, who are also immune from prosecution for killing their 
women relatives for "dishonouring" their family values.

We call upon all those concerned with human rights, particularly the basic 
right to life, to demand that the Iraqi regime desist from committing these 
blatant violations.

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