SEED Foundation Co-Founder and Vice President Tanya Gilly Khailany highlighted the important role non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can and do play to advance gender equality and counter gender-based violence in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, where decades of upheaval and violence have created ongoing mass intergenerational trauma. Gilly Khailany was speaking in an online panel organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Representation in the United Kingdom that coincided with International Women’s Day 2021 on March 8.
Explaining SEED’s work to protect, empower, and support the recovery of survivors of violence and other vulnerable or marginalized groups at risk of harm by realizing significant positive impact, SEED’s Co-Founder stressed that women often do not get a seat at the decision-making table in Iraq or Kurdistan, so they have carved out spheres of influence as activists and leaders in the NGO sphere to make impactful changes.
Gilly Khailany also applauded the signing into law of the Yezidi Female Survivors bill, which was passed by the Iraqi parliament on March 1, by Iraqi President Barham Salih just prior to the panel discussion. SEED had advocated that the Iraqi parliament adopt this legislation through multiple private and public channels, including as part of the Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR). “The Law on Yezidi [Female] Survivors is a groundbreaking moment for Iraq; it’s the first time Iraq has recognized the suffering of women in conflict and made legal provisions to support their recovery and reintegration into society,” she commented.
The live-streamed webinar was organized by the KRG in the UK High Representative, Karwan Jamal Tahir. In addition to Gilly Khailany, panelists included Siham Mamand, a senior advisor at the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations; Samal H. R. Manee, an author and academic; Fanya Ismail, the CEO and founder of UK-based Sol-Gel Materials & Applications (SGMA); and Ruwayda Mustafah, the founder of the UK-based Kurdish Policy Board.