18. not before. Not forced an awareness campaign to prevent and fight child marriage in Kurdistan region of Iraq [EN/AR/KU/Badini/Sorani]

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Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. But the phenomenon of child marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, is a reality not only for girls, both for men as well.

Child marriage is challenging basic access to education, health, protection and development. It undermines a child’s ability to make informed and healthy decisions about his or her life. A married child, by consequence, is denied of his or her childhood and adolescence, and it affects the personal freedom as well as psychosocial and emotional well-being.

Nonetheless, girls are disproportionately the most affected. Economic problems, traditional and wrong perception of protection are the most common causes, especially when life conditions are seriously affected by poverty, displacement and violence.

This is happening also in Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where around 1 million internally displaced persons are finding a refuge, in addition to 220.000 Syrian refugees, residing in the three provinces of Erbil,
Duhok and Sulaimaniya. This is why an urgent and serious action is needed.

In the occasion of the International Day of Girl Child, October 11th , Un Ponte Per… (UPP), Italian organization supporting Iraqi and Kurdish population since 1991, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq are launching a campaign that aims at putting an end to child marriage. After over 6 months of work that involved 14 NGOs (international and national), governorates and, most of all, the affected community itself (Syrian refugees, Iraqi displaced and Host Community) the “18. Not before. Not forced.” will start.

Workshops, trainings and awareness sessions in camps and urban areas will disseminate messages targeting and involving teachers, sector leaders and mukhtars, authorities, religious leaders, volunteers, parents, youth and children.

To present officially the campaign and its main components, a press conference will be held on October 11th at 11 o’clock in both Erbil and Duhok cities. In Duhok it will take place in (The conference hall of Duhok governorate) and In Erbil it will be in (The conference hall in the 3rd floor of Erbil governorate building which located at the end of Sultan Muzafar str., Near Erbil citadel). A full explanation of the leaflet, posters and animation cartoon, developed by UPP in Kurdish Badini, Kurdish Sorani and Arabic that will be part of the campaign, will be provided.

The campaign is part of Mass Communication and Mass information projects that UPP is implementing in both Erbil and Duhok Governorates with the support of UNHCR aiming at strengthening the provision of orientation and information to the displaced populations and Syrian refugees.

For more information, please contact:
Elias Aosman Hassi
0750 212 1585
Elias.hassi@unponteper.it