On the occasion of 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has prepared a detailed report on cases of genocide, honour killings, female suicides, as well as the arrests and imprisonments of Kurdish women activists in Iran from the beginning of the Iranian year 1400 (21 March 2021) to 25 November.

Since 21 March, 61 women in different parts of Iranian Kurdistan have committed suicide and lost their lives. These include 11 young women under the age of 18.

The leading causes of these suicides have been family disputes, poverty, forced marriages, depression, and the prevention of continuing their education. Most of these women were married residents of Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan province, who ended their lives by hanging themselves.

Also, since 21 March, 25 Kurdish women have been killed across Kurdistan and Iran. Four women were shot dead while they were with their murdered woman friends, mothers or sisters and were not the main targets of the assailants.

In this period, 21 women were killed over gender issues. These include seven women in Kermanshah, Harsin, Sonqor, and Ravansar in Kermanshah province, three in Ilam and Darreh Shahr in Ilam province, six in Sanandaj, Saqqez, and Marivan in Kurdistan province, three in Piranshahr and Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province, a woman from Kermanshah who was a resident of Sari in Mazandaran province, and one from Sanandaj who resided in Hamedan.

While 15 women were killed by their husbands, two by their fathers, three by the men they refused to marry, one was murdered by a man with whom the victim was not related.

Nine of these women were killed with guns, four were stabbed with knives, three were beaten to death, three were burned, one was suffocated, and one lost her life after being intentionally thrown from a moving car.

Honour ‘not the only factor’ in violence against women – KHRN director

Fatemeh Karimi, a researcher in the field of women rights and director of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), said: “In some cases, the exact reasons for the murder of some of these women and even the causes of their deaths are not clear. Lack of access to forensic records, inability to communicate with victims’ families etc., are the drawbacks in the discovery of facts in these cases.”

She continued: “Cases published in the state-run domestic media generally cite “family disputes” as the sole reason for the killings, without mentioning the identity of the victim and without any additional explanation. On the other hand, some women activists reduce the root cause of the violence to the factor of “honour”. However, women are killed for various reasons, sometimes due to insistence on their basic wants, including choosing a future spouse, the right to divorce, the right to work etc. The killing of women in the name of defending honour is just one of the many causes. Women can be killed for any reason when their behaviours and lifestyles are not in line with the tastes of the men around them.”

The KHRN has reported 25 of these femicide cases directly through its sources or by citing other reliable sources.

For further information on these 25 women, the report available in Persian on our website could be accessed.