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UNFPA, the Kurdish Human Rights Watch, and the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs train Peshmerga Forces on Human Rights and Gender Based Violence

Understanding and respecting human rights, including women’s rights, is not only a moral obligation but a necessity when working in the front line. To guarantee the Peshmerga forces are well acquainted with these rights, UNFPA, the Kurdistan Human Rights Watch (KHRW), and the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs (MoPA) organised a 10-day workshop on the subject from 3 to 10 September for 20 female and male Peshmerga officers.

During the workshop, the participants received capacity-building training and awareness sessions on human rights and gender-based violence (GBV) laws in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The attendees will, in turn, educate a total of 600 field and administrative Peshmerga officers across KRI on the ways to deal with different human rights and GBV-related cases.

“One of the main duties of a Peshmerga is to protect people; when ISIL take-over took place, I saw my colleagues rescuing Yezidi people from Sinjar,” said Masoma Mahir, one of the training’s participants. “We, at times, witness certain human rights violations, however, I strongly believe that if armed forces are well-informed on each individual’s right then they can be held accountable for any violations should they occur.”

“Through our work, we are in daily contact with people, thanks to this workshop and the sessions we have received I can now educate and teach Peshmerga in the field on how to deal with women, especially those survivors of GBV”, said Rezgar Saiffdine, another participant. “The training has also help me see women in a more appreciative matter; I have a wife, sister, mother; I work with female colleagues, now I know how to better deal with them, and how to protect them and give them the respect they deserve,” he added.

The sessions focused on the principles and concept of human rights, International Human Rights Law, the concept of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV), human rights violations, the mechanism to deal with SGVB, and the respect that should be shown when dealing with sensitive cases, such as GBV, women, minorities, and refugees among others.


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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