x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Stop the trafficking of Iraqi women

The feminist Iraqi activist Nibras al Maa'muri called on Iraqi authorities to reopen the files of women who were reported missing in mysterious circumstances in the past five years, reported the London-based Arabic daily Al Sharq Al Awsat.

The feminist Iraqi activist Nibras al Maa'muri called on Iraqi authorities to reopen the files of women who were reported missing in mysterious circumstances in the past five years, saying their numbers had so far reached several thousands, reported the London-based Arabic daily Al Sharq Al Awsat. "The fact that many women disappeared then turned up in other countries must be the first task we all need to address. We also need to find out and prosecute those who are involved in helping women get out of Iraq," she wrote.

There are several means of trafficking women out of Iraq, including using fake employment contracts or through marriage and false passports, explained al Maa'muri, adding that "it was once reported that somebody had been arrested as he attempted to take 100 girls, using one passport, out of the country via the Syrian borders". Al Maa'muri noted that the Ministry of Planning, in conjunction with one of the NGOs, conducted a survey that revealed that around 1,500 to 1,700 women, the majority aged 15 and above, disappeared. In most of the cases, she added, their disappearance had not been reported to the police.

The Lebanese government has mobilised its diplomacy, urging more international support in favour of an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as well as an active role by the international community to exercise their influence on Israel to stop its aggression, indicated the London Arabic daily Al Hayat. In a meeting in Beirut with Said Jalili, Secretary General of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, the Lebanese president, Michel Suleiman, stressed the importance of holding an Arab summit to adopt a unified position supporting the Palestinians and deploring the Israeli assault. He called on Arab countries to coordinate efforts to address the aggression through the Arab League, noted Al Hayat.

The prime minister, Fouad Siniora, discussed the situation on the phone with his counterpart Nader al Dahabi, the prime minister of Jordan, and the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and was briefed about the latest Arab actions to stop the carnage in Gaza, reported Al Hayat. Siniora also contacted the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and informed her about the necessity to issue a resolution by the UN Security Council to put an end to the Israeli offensive and open the crossings, stated Mr Siniora's media office.

Mauritania's largest party in parliament, the Rally of Democratic Forces, declared it would temporarily suspend its participation in political consultations for 24 hours, reported the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. "We are not completely suspending our participation, but we would like to stop and ponder for a while. And we are by no means trying to jeopardise the future of Mauritania," said Ahmed Ould Daddah, the Assembly president, during a press conference. He added that he would like to express his criticism over the way the political consultations were run.

Daddah decried in particular the big number of participants taking part in the forums, which he said would complicate both the scope and results of the consultations, indicated Al Watan. Daddah was the leader of the democratic opposition under the rule of ousted Mauritanian President Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdullah and was a supporter of the August 2008 coup . The military council in power in Mauritania took the initiative of organising political consultations that started on December 27, 2008, and would continue until today (January 5) in order to lay down a road map for the country to restore democracy through elections.

The Yemeni Congregation for Reform disclosed the reasons behind the bombing of oil pipelines, which had witnessed a rise after 1998 when it quit the government following the second legislative elections, reported the Kuwaiti paper Al Rai. "Those attacks were reactions to economic, political and security factors and were not terrorist attacks by nature," stated the party.

"The assaults were basically due to economic reasons mainly price increases, illicit profits, in addition to attempts made by the American Hunt Company to allocate financial rewards to people living close by oil pumps after its exploitation contract with the Yemeni government had expired," added the party. The government decided to lift public subsidies on oil products in 1998, which led citizens in those areas to attack one of the pipelines to deter the government from proceeding on with its resolution, the party further commented.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae