A new step towards gender equality in Iraq; Italy, UN Women, UNFPA collaborate on women and girls protection in Kurdistan
The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) has established a partnership with UN Women and UNFPA to improve the safety, protection and wellbeing of women and girls survivors of gender-based violence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Building on existing structures and ongoing gender mainstreaming efforts, the new partnership will contribute to increasing access to quality gender-based violence protection services, such as mental health and psychosocial support, strengthening case management and referrals to other services upon survivors' requests. Survivors of gender-based violence will have easier access to justice through endorsed practical standard operating procedures for legal and police actors.
The project will strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Kurdistan High Council of Women Affairs and the General Directorate of Combating Violence against Women to enhance the implementation of existing policies and services addressing violence against women and girls.
Dina Zorba, UN Women Representative to Iraq & Yemen, expressed UN Women gratitude to the Government of Italy for their generous contribution to addressing gender-based violence, gender inequality and in improving access, safety, and wellbeing of women and girls survivors of gender-based violence in the Kurdistan region of Iraq:
"Through this partnership, together with UNFPA, we intend to enhance coordination and support the KRI government in responding effectively to the protection needs of women and girls at risk and subject to gender-based violence."
The Ambassador of Italy to Iraq-Maurizio Greganti:
"The Government of Italy fully supports the urgent need to provide assistance to women and girls victims of gender violence, through the restoration of basic services. Every effort should also be taken to reintegrate those victims within their communities and provide them with tangible support to rebuild their lives."
Since 2018, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) office in Amman has been responsible for implementing international cooperation initiatives in Iraq. Emilio Cabasino added:
"This project comes in line with the Italian Cooperation's aid priorities targeting the prevention and fight against gender-based violence in the Country, as it addresses immediate recovery and aims to improve accessibility to basic services".
Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, commented on the contribution:
"We are extremely grateful to the people and Government of Italy for their continuous commitment to eliminating gender-based violence especially in humanitarian settings and strengthening the capacities of those working to protect women's rights and dignity. This support comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has increased cases of gender-based violence and immediate action at scale is required".
Khanzad Ahmad, Director of the High Council of Women and Development added that:
"It is necessary to thank the citizens of Kurdistan, the international community and UN agencies; without their generous support, it would have been difficult for the Kurdistan Regional Government to respond to the urgent requirements of the forcibly displaced people from the Iraqi provinces. On behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government, I would like to also thank the people and government of Italy for providing continuous coordination and development to the Kurdistan Region and especially to women and girls who are victims of sexual based violence."
Yusra Mohsen, Director of the Department of Women Empowerment at the Council of Ministers, said:
"We value the initiative by the Italian Government and the Italian agency for development in launching this project which focuses on providing services to women and girls who have experienced violence in the Kurdistan Region. This project comes at a critical time as Kurdistan has recently hosted many Syrian refugees who have fled due to ISIS and are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection".
UN Women and UNFPA are committed to addressing gender-based violence through strengthening institutional capacities to scale up and improving multi-sectoral responses and support the Kurdistan Regional Government to advance its agenda on gender equality and empowerment of women.