Women in Sulaymaniyah province of Iraqi Kurdistan have been clearing mines in the region for the last 6 months.
The team, which has been established by the Mine Advisory Group-MAG, consists of 10 women who have been working 5 days a week focusing on the Sharbajêr and Pênciwên regions, Roj News reports.
The women were specially trained for 40 days before they began clearing mines in the region.
22 year old Şanya Meriwan is one of them. She has been doing this dangerous job for 6 months and says;
“Of course, there are risks. However, if the training and rules are followed, the risks decrease. For this purpose, we ask the authorities to allocate a budget for this work and to regulate the pension conditions.”
Shanya Meriwan went on: “Every woman should stand on her own two feet and not be afraid of any kind work, they should come forward, because women can work better than men.”
They are also criticising the Iraqi Kurdistan Government for being insensitive towards their profession.
Gulale Rauf, another woman who does mine clearance work says:
“All of the women have chosen this job of their own free will. But what worries us is that if something happens to us one day, the government will not take care of us. If we lose a limb because of this job, we won’t be able to do anything else.”
According to UNICEF, 519 children have died or lost body parts in mine explosions in Iraq in the past five years.
More than 13,000 people have been victims of mines in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the past 31 years.
255 square kilometres of land in the Kurdistan Region has not yet been cleared of mines.