Source: AWID

Photo credit: OWFI

FRIDAY FILE: Women have been at the forefront of demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the recent popular uprisings, which have received much media and international attention. In contrast, coverage of attacks on women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations has been limited, AWID asks why.

On the frontlines of demonstrations or behind the scenes as tech-savvy organizers, women have played pivotal roles in the recent democratic revolutions and uprisings in the MENA region. Women’s activism and organizing in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya has garnered substantial international attention. Yet in spite of several attacks, including sexual assaults, on Iraqi women activists and their organizations since February, women’s roles in Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations have generated less media coverage. And the violence against them has intensified since June, one of the deadliest months so far in 2011 for Iraqis.

The Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) is one of the leaders of Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations, helping to organize youth activists and advocating for women’s rights. AWID takes a look at OWFI’s work, and the situation of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq and asks why the other Tahrir Square is receiving so little international attention.

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