International Conference: Women, Violence and the Politics of Mobilizing Resistance: The Case of Kurdish Women

  • Nazand Begikhani (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Violence against women is one of the most common and damaging violations of human rights across the world. As defined by the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, violence against women is "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary depriving of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life". Kurdish women experience violence both at the hand of state officials governing different parts of Kurdistan and at "home". Yet, their reality is addressed neither locally nor internationally and Kurdish gender is seldom given space in the Kurdish studies literature. The conference will focus on the lives and experiences of Kurdish women in Kurdistan and the diaspora, with specific attention given to violence and strategies of resistance. We are interested in all forms of domestic, political and state violence, regardless of whether generated by governing states, nationalist movements or male family members. We will be exploring the implications of military confrontation, destructive campaigns and forced migration, immigration, imprisonment, physical and sexual torture, honour killings, mutilation and so on. The conference is a collaborative project between Kurdish Women Action Against Honour Killings (KWAHK, website address: ), the International Kurdish Women Studies Network (website: ) and the Kurdish Institute of Paris (website: ) that is to sponsor it. Aims and Objectives: The aim of the conference is to situate women within the discourse of Kurdish studies. Furthermore, we are seeking to identify methods of research appropriate to the object of inquiry, as part of a project to provide gendered ways of thinking about the Kurds and Kurdistan. To this end, the conference will create a platform for Kurdish women activists and academics to discuss and exchange ideas and experiences. We aim to facilitate the establishment and deepening of networks for understanding and communication that will allow for greater effectiveness in the fields of policy-making and activism. Finally, the papers presented at the conference will be published in a special edition of the journal of Kurdish Studies. The programme: Programme: 9:00-9.05am Nazand Begikhani : Welcoming Address 9.05-9.15am Madame Mitterrand :Opening Address Session 1: 9.15-10.00am Explaining the Dynamics of Violence: Theoretical Analysis of the Discourse and Practice of Violence against Women. Discussant: Seve Izouly (Lawyer, Strasbourg) Speakers: Margaret Grieco (Professor, Napier University): Culture or repression? Gender, Autonomy & the Sacrifice of Life. Juliette Minces: (Author, specialist of Islam and women, Paris): Bodies Militarised: Violence against Women with a Comparative Perspective. Session 2 10:00 – 12:00 Women in Armed Conflict: Violence Against Women and Feminist Challenges Discussant: Heidi Wedel (Researcher, London) Nebahat Akkoç(KA-MER Women’s Centre, Diyarbakir): The Effects of Displacement on Kurdish Women & Children in Diyarbakir and Women’s Response. Fatma> Karakas (Lawyer, Legal Aid Project for Women Raped or Sexually Abused in Custody, Istanbul): Sexual Violence Against Women & the Legal Aid Project. Meral Danis Bestas (Lawyer, Diyarbakir Bar Association, Women’s Commission): The Situation of Kurdish Female Prisoners & the Activities of the Diyarbakir Bar Association. Necla Açik (Researcher, Manchester): Women Images and Self-Sacrifice in the Kurdish National Struggle. Lunch: 12.00 – 13.30pm Session 3 13.30 – 15.15 Politics of Extermination: The Anfal Campaigns in Iraqi Kurdistan Nashmil Ghassemlou (Psychotherapist, Germany) Speakers: Pakhshan Zangana (Journalist,Cologne): The Anfal Campaigns: Causes and Consequences. WaziraJ. Saaid (Editor-in-chief of Bergri magazine, Suleimaniya): Anfal & the Women’s Movement in Iraqi Kurdistan Karin Mlodoch (Psychologist, Berlin): The Psychological Situation of Anfal-Surviving Women in the Garmian Area. Inga Rogg (Journalist & cultural anthropologist, Munich): Violent Voices, Silenced Voices- Anfal & Memory. Coffee Break: 15.15 – 15.30 Session 4 15.30 – 17. 30 Naturalised Violence: the Practice of Violence Against the Bodies of Women and Strategies of Resistance. Discussant: Martin van Bruinessen (Professor, Utrecht University) peakers: Roonak Faraj(Researcher, Women Information Centre, Suleimaniya): Notions of Shame &. Honour: the Practice of Honour Killings in Iraqi Kurdistan Karadakhy (Lawyer,Erbil): The Functioning of the Law and the Situation of Women in the KDP Controlled Area. Nazaneen Rasheed (Project co-ordinator, Kurdish Women Action against Honour-Killing, London): The Aram Shelter for Women in Suleimaniya: a Sociological Analysis of Shelter in the Kurdish Context. Nazand Begikhani(Researcher,University of the West of England, KWAHK & Institute Kurde, Bristol): Kurdish women and political Islam. Session 5 Kurdish Women in the Diaspora: the Dialectic of Violence and Resistance. Abbas Vali (Senior lecturer, University of Wales, Swansea) Speakers: Rachel Gorman (Researcher, Toronto University): Learning for Life: Kurdish Women’s Tales of War & Diaspora. Monireh Moftizadeh (Chair-person,Kurdish Women Organisation & KWAHK, London): Kurdish Women's Life in Exile: Power of Adaptation, Experience of Violence & Mechanisms of Resistance Carina Grosser-Kaya (Researcher, Leipzig): Searching for Security: Daily Life of Kurdish Female Asylum Seekers in Eastern Germany Concluding Remarks 18.45-19.00 Isabelle Rigoni( Researcher, Warwick University)
Period22 Feb 2002
Event typeConference
LocationParis, FranceShow on map


  • Kurdish women, gender politics, resistance