Press Release

Together to end impunity for violence committed against women and girls in Iraq

10 December 2021

Baghdad, 10 December 2021 – To mark the end of this year’s campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, on 6 December, the Iraqi Women Network, Iraqi al Amal Association and the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq brought together Iraqis from a broad range of professions, united by the common objective to end gender-based violence.

Participants emphasized the importance of community engagement working towards the common goal to end violence against women and girls, and the need for collective actions to advocate for the enactment of legislation to criminalize domestic-violence and to ensure accountability for crimes committed based on gender-based violence.

In addition, there is a need to increase the awareness raising activities to end violence against women and girls and criminalize domestic violence already ongoing reaching all parts of Iraq society by women rights activists, including with the support of the United Nations, and judges, doctors, lawyers, academics, journalists, religious leaders, tribal elders, and civil society activists. They have been at the forefront of advocacy campaigns to sensitize the public, members of parliament, government, justice institutions, and the security sector to the prevalence of this violation and the importance of providing redress to victims.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly exacerbated all the risk factors for violence against women and girls, including unemployment and poverty, and has reinforced many of the root causes of such violence, such as negative gender stereotypes and harmful social norms.

This new reality of enhanced risk reinforces the urgent need to criminalize domestic violence, to hold perpetrators accountable, and strengthen the support system for survivors.

Consistent with the principles of the global campaign and recognizing the commendable efforts by the Government to address gender-based violence, we re-affirm our commitment to:

  • Advocate for the criminalization of domestic violence in Iraq and the strengthening of a multi-sectoral, survivor-centered and transformative approach to preventing and responding to gender-based violence;
  • Implement a common, action-oriented approach , fully utilizing the leadership of women and girls, respecting diversity and creating space for their participation in decision making;
  • Galvanize the efforts of civil society organizations in alignment with other partners to prevent and end violence against women and girls, by amplifying their collective voice and promoting a common agenda;
  • Counter gendered misconceptions and accurately represent the value and long-term impact of effective implementation of ADVL, through responsible and informed media.

Progress can only be achieved through a collective and mutually reinforcing effort by government institutions and civil society to: adopt national laws and mechanisms that protect women and girls from gender-based violence; end impunity; empower women; and enhance their participation in peacebuilding, societal cohesion, and sustainable development programs.

Together to end impunity for violence committed against women and girls in Iraq

Danielle Bell

Danielle Bell

OHCHR
Representative and Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office
Ms. Danielle Bell has served as the Chief of the Human Rights Office, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Representative in Iraq of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) since 2018. She has spent more than two decades promoting human rights globally, leading human rights teams in conflict and post-conflict contexts, including Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan and Timor-Leste. In her current role, Ms. Bell leads a team of 50 national and international human rights staff to implement human rights activities mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2522 (2020).
This includes strategic development and leadership on the human rights and protection priority areas in Iraq, including: early warning, prevention and protection of human rights in situations of conflict and insecurity; strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations; child protection; conflict related sexual violence; enhancing equality and countering discrimination; enhancing and Protecting Civic Space and People’s Participation. Ms. Bell holds a MSt. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford and MA and BA degrees (distinction) from the University of Victoria.
Musab Othman

Musab Othman

UN Women
Partnership & Programme Analyst
Salwa Moussa

Salwa Moussa

UNFPA
Communications Specialist

UN entities involved in this initiative

UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNAMI
UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund

Goals we are supporting through this initiative