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Shokhan was a baby in her mother’s womb when her parents separated. Post birth, she was handed over to her paternal grandmother. Both her parents have remarried. Lack of marriage documentation of her parents has left her without a birth certificate. The Iraqi law does not recognize the rights of children without birth certificate, and they cannot attend school. For that reason, Shokhan was unable to receive any education. When Shokhan was a teenager, her grandmother died, and her aunts married her to a man forty years her senior. Due to lack of birth certificate, the marriage was not registered. She has a daughter and a son, and the children have faced the same fate and do not have birth certificates because their mother does not have one. They are deprived of education. Shokhan is 35 years old. Her daughter is 11 years old, and her son is 8 years old. Shokhan has set herself on fire several times. Last year, a lawyer, working for Kurdish women’s charities, carried out a long and arduous legal process of obtaining birth certificates for Shokhan and her children. Currently, the children have a birth certificate and are enrolled in school, but Shokhan is still vulnerable and faces difficulties. She has gone to a mental hospital asking for help and stated she will face hysteria soon, but they refuse to help because she does not have a recommendation from a specialist. She stands outside the hospital and says she has been thinking all day about burning herself again. She is not accepted and returns home after a long stay in the hot June weather in Iraq.
Takiya, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq