The Governorate of Diwaniyah and UNFPA inaugurated today the first Women Protection Centre in the Governorate, with funding from Canada and Sweden.
The Centre will offer psychosocial and legal assistance, medical counselling and protection for survivors of gender-based violence. Women and girls will be able to benefit from special programmes on empowerment, life skills and livelihood education.
The inauguration was attended by Mr Zuhair Ali Al-Shaalan, Governor of Diwaniyah, Dr Yousra Al-Allak, Head of Women Empowerment Department and Dr Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, as well as representatives from the civil society and women-led organisations.
Speaking at the event, the Governor highlighted the centre's importance to women and girls in Diwaniyah:
"Women play an important role in our society. Diwaniyah is proud to establish a centre that provides a comprehensive package of services for survivors of gender-based violence. When women are protected and provided with the right tools, they can thrive."
For his part, Dr Yousra Al-Allak reiterated:
"Establishing a Protection Women Centre is a very good first step. However, to ensure the proper development of Iraq, we need legislation that protects women and girls from gender-based violence and ensures their rights are preserved".
In her speech, Dr Columbia emphasised the importance of safe spaces for women and girls survivors of any form of violence. She thanked the local authorities, Women Empowerment Department and civil society for their efforts to prevent and respond to GBV. She called on other governorates to follow this example to take concrete steps towards eliminating gender-based violence in Iraq.
Speeches also called the Parliament to adopt the Anti-Domestic Violence Law and endorse the legal framework for gender-based violence service provision and protection of women.
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