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Yanar Mohammed

3 October 2005
Born in 1960 in Baghdad, I came of age in turbulent political times. After leaving Iraq with my husband and infant son in 1993, I worked with other Iraqi women to establish the Defense of Iraqi Women's Rights (DIWR) in Canada in 1998. The shelter this organization helped open in Iraq has saved hundreds of women from honor killings. I was the director-coordinator of DIWR in 1998, 1999, and 2002. In June 2004, the group changed its name to The Organization of Women's Freedom, and relocated to Iraq.

In Iraq, I see myself as a key speaker on behalf of Iraqi women but I also work as editor in chief of a newspaper called Equality (Al-Mousawat). After three issues, I received a court summons for writing a story rejecting compulsory veils for women in Baghdad. In addition to my advocacy work, I am a recognised artist and architect. You can see one of my ceramic murals in the entrance of the Canadian Arab Federation building in Toronto. I graduated from Baghdad University in 1984 and obtained a master's degree in architecture there in 1993. Right now, the situation facing women in Iraq is dire.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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