Narmin Othman is the acting Minister of Human Rights and was chosen as the Minister of Women's Affairs in the Iraqi Interim Government which assumed power June 30, 2004. Othman, who "belongs to President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan," is a former minister of education. 
Othman's name also appears as Nermin Othman.
On August 23, 2005, police reported that Minister Othman escaped an assassination attempt when gunmen attacked her convoy "near the town of Adhaim some 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Baghdad" wounding three bodyguards "and some of the attackers were believed to have been killed." Othman had been "on her way from the northern city of Sulaimaniyah to Baghdad when her motorcade was attacked. She returned to Sulaimaniyah following the shooting."
"'This is a cowardly act that will not prevent me from carrying my duties,' state-run television station Iraqiya quoted Othman, a Kurd, as saying."
- "Narmin Othman, 57, is an Iraqi Kurd and a one-time high school teacher. ... Othman lost most of her family to Iraqi strife ..."
- "Narmin Othman knew long ago the price of politics in Iraq, where guerrillas already have assassinated two high-ranking female officials as well as mid-level activists. 'I started my life in a political family,' she says in a voice raspy from lack of sleep and years of cigarettes. Like many Iraqis, Othman’s story is heavy with hardship, and her eyes fill with tears as she tells it. Her father, brother and husband were active in the Kurdish resistance and spent years hiding in the mountains of northern Iraq, living as guerrillas, or peshmerga. All were jailed by Saddam Hussein. 'My husband was imprisoned from 1975 until 1979,' Othman recalls. 'I worked hard, but I did not have enough to bribe my husband out of jail. They used every kind of torture. They beat him, pulled out his fingernails and brainwashed him.'
- "When her 5-year-old son said at school that his father was in prison, police 'came to my house and told me that he must not say that,' Othman recalls. She was arrested numerous times and had to leave her son behind when she and her husband fled to exile in Sweden in 1984. During their eight years there, she experienced the freedom she’d only imagined in Iraq.
- "'I touched the democracy in Sweden,' says Othman. 'Every nice thing that you see, you dream that you can bring to your own country. In democracy, people can use their voice without any fear.' Othman returned to northern Iraq in 1992, after the Gulf War, and became minister of education in the Kurdistan region. She did not leave that area until Saddam was overthrown in 2003.
- "Her husband passed away in March 2004, just as she was offered a post in the interim Iraqi government. 'I didn’t care for my life, so I always put some mission before me,' says Othman. 'Loving your people is bigger than loving yourself.'"
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, Narmin Othman, Minister of Women's Affairs, Iraq, and Massouda Jalal, Minister of Women's Affairs, Afghanistan, Department of State, September 27, 2004.
Articles & Commentary
- "Interim Iraqi government. BBC News Online looks at the Iraqis who were chosen to form Iraq's interim government, which power from 30 June 2004," BBC News (UK), June 1, 2004.
- "Building a New Iraq: Iraqi Women Step Forward in Partnership," Foreign Press Center Building, Washington, DC, Department of State, September 27, 2004.
- "Iraqi Women Receiving Democracy Training Through U.S. Grants, September 27, 2004," Department of State, September 28, 2004.
- "Founding Mothers -- Next Steps in Post-Election Afghanistan and Iraq," Foreign Press Center Building, Washington, DC, Department of State, March 8, 2005.
- Condoleezza Rice, Statement: "International Women’s Day, March 8, 2005," Department of State.
- Meghan Clyne,
"America Thanked for Liberating Iraqi Women," New York Sun (Front Page Magazine), March 9, 2005.
- Lyric Wallwork Wini, "These Women Are Changing Their Nations," Parade, July 3, 2005.
- "Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments: Iraq," CIA, Last Updated July 5, 2005.
- "Iraqi Minister attacked in Baghdad is safe," News from Russia, August 23, 2005.