Mr. Sarkawt Omar is the Director of the Institute for Combating Violence Against Women In Kurdistan. His job should be to defend women rights and fight all the injustice done to women in Iraqi-Kurdistan.
But it seems he follows a reverse agenda. Asked about FGM he recently answered in an interview:
In contrasted to the politically-affiliated activist groups, the Non-Governmental Organizations are usually sponsored by certain sources, and need projects in order to ensure continued financing. These NGOs sometimes bring up issues that are non-existent, such as the recent publication of some data on Female Genital Mutilation in Kurdistan by some organizations, which tarnished the reputation of this state. To me this was a great injustice to the people of Kurdistan, since it can’t be possible to extrapolate the data from 300-400 questionnaires and estimate a 73-83% rate of FGM in the region. How can a prevalence estimate be achieved from a questionnaire survey?
FGM is non existent? Which certain sources sponsored the research? Well, if Mr. Omar would have read the reserach done by Wadi – and he obviously didn’t – he by now would also know the extremly obscure sources financing it:
The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Swiss Caritas, the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Mama Cash (Netherlands), the Iraqi Civil Society Program (ICSP) and the City of Vienna.
Additionally he could have learned something about the methods of the study:
The present study was written under the scientific supervision of Professor Hubert Beste of the Faculty of Social Work at the Landshut University of Applied Sciences.
The total population that represents the basis of this survey is made up of the adult female population of the Iraqi Kurdish Autonomous Region (from 14 years of age and up).
From September 2007 to May 2008, 1692 fully standardized interviews were conducted in northern Iraq with girls and women from 14 years of age and up.
1692 interviews and not 300-400! However the method counts not the amount of questionaires. And if one is doing a scientific reserach neutrality should be the working assumption. Not so according to Mr. Omar:
We are distributing 10000 questionnaire forms in an academic survey that includes areas from Duhok to Sulaimani, and we will be announcing the results next month. The aim of this activity will be to expose the lies spread in falsehood about FGM in Kurdistan, which is a form of bargaining done by these NGOs in order to achieve financial gains.
He is doing a reserach knowing which results will come out! The women in Kurdistan can call themselves lucky to have such defenders of their rights!
And just for the record: Prior to starting this reserach, Wadi has asked several ministries and officials in the KRG to participate. No one showed any interest at all to do so. Other than Mr. Omar it wasn’t Wadi’s inention to prove anything but to collect data in order to get a first overview of the problem. Everyone would have benn more than happy, if the research would have shown that FGM is just a minor problem in the area. But it is of ceratin interest to see how an official is dealing with organisation working in the region since almost twenty years. It will be remembered.