THE RIGHTS STUFF. Via Women's E-News, a group called MADRE, which focuses on international women's rights, is releasing a report that shows rapes in Iraq, once considered a taboo, are on the rise, as are "honor killings," the tradition of killing a woman who has been accused of bringing shame to her family. The group says that by declaring Islam as the national religion in Iraq, as well as cutting corners on women's rights to more quickly push democracy, women have been exposed to new levels of violence.

The executive summary of the report emphasizes that politicians are viewing such gender-based violence as a largely private matter, falling outside the realm of politics. Essentially the state is turning a blind eye to the human rights violations of women in favor of attempting to quell general sectarian violence (not that that effort is working out). The full report will be released today.

-- Kay Steiger

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