Press Release

Survivors of sexual violence must be protected and supported by the legal system in Iraq

24 April 2018
© 2016/UNFPA Iraq Photo
© 2016/UNFPA Iraq Photo

24 April 2018; Erbil, Iraq –  In Iraq, women and girls who have been kidnapped, raped, abused, enslaved, and forcibly displaced are facing enormous challenges in rebuilding their lives. 

In addition to psychosocial support and specialized care, survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and children in contact with the law must receive the justice and protection of the criminal and civil legal justice system.

With funding from European Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will work closely with the Kurdistan Regional Government and other partners to ensure service providers and justice and security personnel have increased capacity to provide age-appropriate survivor-centred services and child friendly juvenile justice. The project will also guarantee quality services to GBV survivors in general.

“We know that some women and girls in Iraq have been subject to terrible acts of brutality and their needs cannot be overstated,” said Ms Brigid Kennedy Pfister, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection and Adolescent Development in Iraq. 

“It is critical that the judicial, law enforcement, and security personnel are equipped to assist women and child survivors in a compassionate and sensitive manner and to prioritize their rights and needs,” she added.

Mr Nestor Owomuhangi, UNFPA Deputy Representative in Iraq, commented on the importance of the services provided to GBV survivors in Iraq and said: “We have an immense responsibility towards women and girls in Iraq, especially those who are survivors of GBV.”

“The contribution from RDPP will enable UNFPA to strengthen the capacity of its local partners, of decision makers, and services provides across the country to advocate and ensure an overall more survivor-centred approach of GBV intervention,” he explained.

 “Working with both UNFPA and UNICEF ensures supporting systems strengthening of duty bearers on GBV, which is key to enhance locally-led and quality response to GBV and to promote a policy framework ensuring adequate prevention.” Vincenzo Schiano Lomoriello, RDPP Liaison and Project Manager, stated.

A full integration between UNFPA and UNICEF is ensured across all activities conducted through constant coordination and communication among the two Agencies and their respective partners. The 1.85 million euros for the two projects comes from the platform of the of eight European donors supporting the RDPP; the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Commission, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.



UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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For more information, please contact: Laila Ali, UNICEF Iraq , +964 780 9258 542

About UNFPA in Iraq

UNFPA is the United Nations reproductive health and rights agency with a mission to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

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UNFPA Communications Analyst, Salwa Moussa, ; Tel: +964 751 740 1545

About the RDPP

The European Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) is a four-year initiative initiated in July 2014. The objective is to support Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq to better understand, plan, and mitigate the impact of forced displacement of Syrian refugees on the host communities.

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