Honour Killings and Domestic Violence: A Deepening Crisis for Women and Children in Iraq

Iraq faces a heartbreaking crisis of honor killings and domestic violence, with the tragic stories of Retaj Al-Badiri, Tiba al-Ali, and Mousa Walaa shedding light on the plight of its vulnerable children. From unexploded ordnance to honor killings and domestic violence, these young lives call for urgent change and international support.
Child Protection Crisis in Iraq

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In recent years, Iraq has witnessed a distressing series of violations against its most vulnerable population: children.

The heart-wrenching stories of young victims such as Retaj Al-Badiri, Mousa Walaa, and Tiba al-Ali, represent a broader crisis of child protection in Iraq, where children face severe threats to their safety, well-being, and basic human rights.

Retaj Al-Badiri: A Life Cut Short

The recent murder of 9-year-old Retaj Al-Badiri in Iraq has shocked and angered the nation. The brutal nature of her death and the discovery of her dismembered and burned body have ignited a wave of outrage among social media users and activists.

Retaj Al-Badiri

The Babil Governorate Police Command in Iraq has arrested one of the individuals responsible for the brutal murder of 9-year-old Retaj Al-Badiri. The crime, committed over a family dispute, has sparked anger and outrage in the country. The police discovered the girl’s burned and dismembered body inside a house in the Alexandria district. The investigation is ongoing, and the authorities have taken all members of the house into custody. The incident has prompted calls for stricter laws to protect children in Iraq, as the rates of crimes against them continue to rise.

This tragic incident highlights the urgent need for stronger laws and measures to protect children in Iraq. Such cases of violence against children have become alarmingly frequent, with hardly a day passing without news of another child falling victim to abuse or murder.

As a society, we must come together to demand justice for these innocent lives and to ensure the safety and well-being of every child in Iraq.

Mousa Walaa: The Unintended TikTok Tragedy

Mousa Walaa, a 10-year-old boy from Diwaniyah, became the victim of another horrific act of violence in Iraq. His tragic death, sparked by his unintended appearance on TikTok, once again exposed the vulnerability of children in the country.

Mousa Walaa

The killing of Mousa Walaa

The torture and murder of the 7-year-old child, Mousa Walaa, by his stepmother is a horrific act that has sparked outrage among Iraqis. The signs of severe torture on his body are a testament to the brutality he endured.

The incident has caused widespread anger and outrage among social media users, who are questioning how the father could have remained silent while his child was being tortured. Shocking images of the young victim, Mousa Walaa, with scars of brutal torture on his body have circulated online, sparking controversy and demands for justice.

The child was found dead near the city of Al Shula in Baghdad, allegedly after being subjected to stabbing, electrocution, and other forms of torture at the hands of his stepmother. The stepmother attempted to flee but was eventually arrested by the police.

It has been revealed that the father of the child is affiliated with one of the security services in the region, which has further heightened public outrage. Activists and child rights advocates are calling for the harshest punishment for the stepmother, who stands accused of killing her husband’s young son.

The motive behind the crime is still unknown, but it has been reported that the stepmother did not suffer from any mental condition. Iraqi authorities are being urged to take swift action and ensure justice for the young victim.

Efforts must be made to address the root causes of child abuse, such as poverty, lack of education, and mental health support. Strengthening child protection services, promoting awareness campaigns, and providing resources for families can contribute to preventing such tragic incidents from occurring in the future.

It is crucial for the Iraqi government and society as a whole to prioritize the protection and well-being of children, working towards creating a safe and nurturing environment for them.

Tiba al-Ali: A YouTuber’s Tragic Fate

Tiba al-Ali

Tiba al-Ali, a vivacious and popular YouTuber, had dreams of a bright future. However, her life took a horrifying turn, revealing the deeply rooted issues surrounding women’s rights and “honour killings” in Iraq.

The killing of Tiba al-Ali

The killing of Tiba al-Ali in Iraq in January 2023 was believed to be an honor killing by her father. Tiba, who was born in Iraq but had moved to Turkey in 2017, frequently made YouTube videos with her fiancé about life in Istanbul. When she visited her family in Iraq, she was strangled in her sleep by her father, who objected to her living in Turkey. In Iraq, there are no laws against domestic violence, leading many to categorize it as an honor killing.

Following the incident, protests erupted in Iraq in February, with activists calling for a law against domestic violence and drawing attention to the rising violence against women in the country.

In April 2023, Tiba’s father, Tayyip Ali, was sentenced to six months in jail for the killing. General Saad Mann of the Iraqi Interior Ministry referred to it as a “criminal accident” from a legal perspective, but acknowledged that it could be seen as an honor killing from other perspectives.

The Outcry for Change

Tiba’s murder triggered protests across Iraq, prompting a critical examination of the country’s laws regarding “honour killings.” The Iraqi Penal Code, which allows “honour” as a mitigation for crimes of violence against family members, is at the heart of the issue. It permits lenient punishments based on provocation or “honourable motives,” perpetuating a culture of violence against women.

The Toll on Women’s Rights

Tiba’s case highlights the broader crisis facing women’s rights and the protection of children in Iraq. These “honour killings” are deeply rooted in misogyny, often driven by a desire to control women’s bodies and behavior. Using the term “honour killing” perpetuates the harmful idea that victims are somehow responsible for their own deaths, intensifying their suffering.

The Broader Crisis of Child Protection in Iraq

These stories, tragically cut short, paint a grim picture of child protection in Iraq. Children in the country face multifaceted threats to their safety and well-being, from unexploded ordnances to domestic violence and “honour killings.” The plight of these young victims calls for urgent action to address the root causes and provide greater protection.

The Urgent Need for Child Protection

The stories of Retaj Al-Badiri, Tiba al-Ali, Mousa Walaa, and others underscore the urgent need for comprehensive child protection measures in Iraq. These measures should address the following critical areas:

  1. Eradicating Unexploded Ordinances : Iraq must intensify efforts to clear areas contaminated by unexploded ordnances, ensuring the safety of children and communities. International support and collaboration are essential to address this persistent threat.
  2. Reforming “Honour Killing” Laws : Iraq’s legal framework must be reformed to eliminate the outdated provisions that allow lenient sentences for “honour killings.” Strengthening legal protections for women and children is imperative.
  3. Domestic Violence Prevention : Efforts to prevent domestic violence and child abuse should be prioritized. Education and awareness campaigns, along with legal reforms, can help combat this deeply entrenched issue.
  4. Mental Health Support : Children who survive traumatic experiences require access to mental health and psychosocial support services. These services should be readily available and accessible to all affected children.

The Call for Change – Urgent Action Needed to Safeguard Basic Human Rights

The tragic stories of Retaj Al-Badiri, Tiba al-Ali, Mousa Walaa, and countless other children in Iraq should serve as a clarion call for change. Iraq must prioritize the safety and well-being of its children, ensuring that they can grow up in an environment free from violence, fear, and discrimination.

A Plea for International Support

The international community has a vital role to play in supporting Iraq’s efforts to protect its children. This includes providing financial assistance, expertise, and advocacy for the implementation of child protection measures.

As we mourn the loss of these innocent lives, let us also commit to preventing further tragedies and creating a safer future for the children of Iraq.


  1. BBC News – The Iraqi YouTube star killed by her father
  2. UNICEF – 315,000 grave violations against children in conflict
  3. Gulf News – 10-year old Iraqi girl killed by father after her unintended Tiktok appearance
  4. Al Bawaba – “Iraqi child tortured to death by his stepmother
  5. Sumeria News – “Death of a child in Mosul as a result of the explosion of a remnant of war (Arabic)
  6. Al Jazeera – “Iraqi father kills daughter over honour fears (Arabic)
  7. Al Bawaba – “New documentary reveals reality of unexploded ordnance in Iraq (Arabic)

Human Rights Violations in Iraq