Rudaw column on women’s rights

This week’s column by Gary Kent

A paradox I have found in travelling around Kurdistan is that I often learn as much about Britain as about Kurdistan. Exposure to a different culture and thinking forces me to re-examine what I take for granted about my own country. Why do we do this, that or the other and what can best work in either place? It’s not being diplomatic to say that sharing knowledge and expertise is a two-way street and that relations between Kurdistan and the UK should be between equals. I don’t want to over-romanticise Kurdistan but what stands out is a deeply friendly and hospitable attitude towards foreigners, especially Brits, and an openness towards new ideas. Some of these are straightforward or just technical but others are more sensitive.

One of the big issues on our all-party delegations is that of women’s rights and specifically so-called honor killings, domestic violence and female genital mutilation (FGM). We don’t have all the answers. I remember our co-chair Meg Munn MP, who was Equality Minister during Tony Blair’s premiership, noting that the UK could not be complacent or condescending about domestic violence since an average of two women a week are murdered by their partners in the UK.

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