01 March 2016 - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq’s (UNAMI) Human Rights Office (HRO), with support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Government of Canada, has provided US$180,000 in grants to eight civil society organisations that are working with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camps and host communities in Iraq.
The funds will be used to assist in addressing the needs of women and girls who are amongst the most vulnerable groups affected by the conflict in Iraq and have particularly suffered at the hands of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since June 2014. ISIL elements captured thousands of women and girls and used them as sex slaves or sold them to others, especially women and girls from the Yezidi community. Some of the women and girls who managed to escape or have been rescued are now living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and they urgently require psychosocial and medical support in addition to other services.
Through grants amounting to a maximum of US$22,252 each, the eight NGOs working in KRI and Baghdad will be able to provide the much-needed support to survivors of sexual gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence. Women and girls suffering from severe impairments due to traumatic stress related to violence will receive direct support and have improved access to psychosocial and medical care, as well as social and legal services. Additionally, through media campaigns, community dialogue forums and educational seminars implemented by these NGOs, society will gain a better understanding of the impact of sexual violence on the individual, families and the community, which will eventually contribute to decreasing the stigma related to the violations.
Furthermore, some of the grants will contribute to raising awareness among Iraqi police officers, as well as decision makers, on issues related to human rights and women rights to be actively involved in the protection and respect of the rights of displaced women and girls, to ensure their access to justice and to limit the impunity of perpetrators of sexual related violence in armed conflicts.
The grants are being implemented January through March 2016.