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On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in the Conflict, we remember the thousands of women who have been raped, abused, and tortured by Dae’sh in Iraq

Dr Ibtisam Aziz Ali - The Director-General of the Women Empowerment Department

Iraq has faced many challenges and a wave of sexual violence during the humanitarian crisis caused the war against ISIL in 2014. As a result, the Iraqi government signed a joint statement on sexual violence in conflict with the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, a document that is a national strategy and plan for recovery. Today, we are facing the global COVID-19 crisis, I invite you all to show solidarity and stand together to face this crisis and to proceed with the recovery plan (joint statement) as sexual violence is no less dangerous than COVID-19.

Together we recover, together we make change and together we survive!

Danielle Bell - Chief, UNAMI Human Rights Office

Conflict-related sexual violence is a horrific weapon of war and has been recognized as a threat to international peace and security. In addition to extreme victim suffering, it traumatizes and devastates families and communities. 

We commend the efforts of the Government of Iraq to address concerns affecting survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, such as the Draft Yazidi Survivors Law, which responds to the atrocities committed against Yazidi women by Da’esh. We urge that the draft law be expanded in scope to include all survivors of conflict-related sexual violence at the hands of Dae’sh, addressing the registration of children born of rape and including of the full range of conflict-related sexual violence crimes in its definition.

Dr Oluremi Sogunro – UNFPA Representative to Iraq

In 2020, the world was overwhelmed with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, government, leaders and the population took mitigation and prevention measures. People felt they had no power over their lives. In Iraq, thousands of women and girls felt the same during the armed conflict against Daesh. Sexual violence and abuse were used as a weapon to inflict harm and torture; thousands were abducted, sold and sexually abused.

Let's work towards a world where women and girls can live in freedom and equality. Let's counter misogyny and the underlying inequities that lead to a culture of impunity for perpetrators. And let's provide survivor-centred care because it's the wound you don't see that cuts most deeply. Today, COVID-19 has once again reminded of the urgent engagement and re-commitment needed from all of us to build a future free of sexual and gender-based violence. And friends, while the pandemic has already limited our mobility and social interaction worldwide, it shouldn't affect our social duties towards ourselves and towards others in need.