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The Government of Iraq and UNFPA roll out the GBV SOPs in the Central South region

The vulnerabilities of women and girls increase extensively during conflict and displacement, and Gender-Based Violence (GBV), including conflict-related sexual violence, has been one of the critical issues that need to be addressed. To tackle the negative impacts of the conflict and displacement, which continue to pose significant risks of GBV in different parts of Iraq, the Government of Iraq, the GBV Sub-Cluster in Iraq, and UNFPA rolled out on 3 September the Inter-Agency GBV Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the Central South region.

The Inter-Agency SOPs describe guiding principles, procedures, roles and responsibilities of all relevant actors in Iraq in the prevention and response to GBV. They also facilitate coordination and referrals to provide the immediate support that GBV survivors need.

Speaking at the event, Dr Mahdi Al-Alaq, the Secretary-General of the General-Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, addressed 40 representatives of ministries and governorates from Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Babylon, Karbala, Najaf and Salah al-Din, calling upon them to endorse and implement the GBV SOPs: “Iraq has always been a country of rich civilisation and law; it is necessary to adopt a pathway to protect Iraqi women as well as women’s rights as stipulated in the Constitution. (…) The SOPs will serve as a solid guide for the planning and development of policies and programmes to shield women from GBV.”

On behalf of UNFPA, Mr Lionel Laforgue, Humanitarian Programme Coordinator for GBV, emphasised the importance of implementing the SOPs: “Having the SOPs alone is not sufficient; we need to work together to translate these documents into concrete actions. Therefore, today, we are here to agree on the way forward on their roll-out. As a leading UN agency for GBV prevention and response, UNFPA is ready to provide any required support in rolling out the procedures in each governorate, just as we did for their development and finalisation.”

On 4 and 5 September, 70 participants of the Central South Working Group providing GBV-related services, endorsed the SOPs and expressed their commitment to implement them in their respective areas.

As a way forward, it was suggested that the Council of Ministers endorses the SOPs and includes them in the ongoing process of updating the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women, thereby fully institutionalising them and using them as an overall operational guidance for GBV prevention and response across Iraq.

The GBV SOPs for Iraq were developed with the support of the Government of Canada and the European Regional Development and Protection Programme for the Middle East (RDPP).


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

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