UNHCR welcomes the new generous contribution from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration towards UNHCR’s Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response activities for internally displaced persons, returnees, and refugees in Iraq.
GBV remains a major area of concern to UNHCR and is generally underreported due to social stigma, fear of reprisal, and discrimination. Displaced populations experience a heightened risk of GBV, with women and girls disproportionally affected due to several factors, including social and gender norms and reduced economic resources. UNHCR’s recent protection monitoring revealed a rise in domestic violence and GBV as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many persons of concern have lost their livelihood opportunities and can barely make ends meet, which places pressure on families and increases exposure to exploitation and abuse, including the risk that women and children engage in harmful coping mechanisms. This contribution will allow UNHCR to continue providing much needed protection and GBV responses for communities in Iraq.
In particular, this contribution will contribute towards activities aimed at survivor-centered GBV prevention and response, including individual case management, awareness campaigns, capacity building of specialized government and local service providers, psycho-social counselling, and legal services.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller said, “the United States is committed to helping the survivors of gender-based violence and preventing its occurrence. We have a long history of partnership with UNHCR and are honored to support their work to promote women and girls’ safety, security, and access to justice.”
UNHCR’s Acting Representative Philippa Candler said that “during this particularly critical time, this generous assistance highlights the longstanding engagement and importance the Government of the United States of America has placed on mitigating the impact of gender-based violence on forcibly displaced communities in Iraq and globally. UNHCR will use these funds to strengthen the survivor-based approach in its GBV prevention and response activities in Iraq.”