By Shwan Barzinji – Basnews :  Violence against women in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region has increased, according to a monthly report from the Kurdish government.

The report from Violence Against Women, a special department aimed at monitoring women’s situation in the Kurdistan Region, registered 13 cases of rape in the first eight months of 2013. Most of them reported in Slêmanî (Sulaimaniyah), the region’s second largest city.

“In the first eight months of the year there have been 445 cases of violence against women, including suicide, murder, rape, and sexual harassment,” according to the report. The Kurdistan Region has succeeded in passing a law limiting violence against women, but many people especially from rural areas still adhere to tribal traditions. According to the report, 170 cases of violence against women were registered at this time in 2012; 275 less than this year. In 2007, the Interior Ministry in the Kurdistan Region established departments to follow up on issues related to violence against women, after the region experienced a notable surge in cases of murder and suicide among women.

There are currently six departments and 26 offices in the region that address violence against women.

In 2011, the Kurdistan Parliament issued a domestic violence law. The second article states: ‘It is prohibited for any person associated with a family to commit violence — whether physical, sexual or psychological — within the family’. In 2012, the Kurdistan Regional Government held an international conference in Erbil aimed to promote women’s rights and combatting domestic violence. According to Human Rights Watch, female genital mutilation in Iraq is practiced primarily by Kurds. A reported 60% of Kurdish women in Iraq have undergone the procedure. The KRG claims the figures are exaggerated.