UNITAD Discusses with Partners Blueprint for Psychosocial Support to Survivors of ISIL Crimes
29 December 2022
Baghdad, 29 December 2022 – With a conference titled “Blueprint for Psychosocial Support of ISIL Crimes Survivors-Trauma Informed and Capacity Building Practices” UNITAD brought together a number of national and international partners to set national strategies for best practices and trauma-informed approaches for all victims of ISIL crimes in Iraq.
The conference which took place in Erbil earlier this month, with the support of the Netherlands and Finland, aimed to increase awareness of the importance of psychosocial needs for survivors of such international crimes in justice processes, underline needs and related gaps for the provision of mental health and psychosocial support within Iraqi justice processes for survivors of ISIL crimes in line with UNITAD’s trauma-informed and victim centered approaches. It also aimed to build collaborative partnerships, and widen the network of psychosocial service providers in Iraq.
Addressing attendees, Dr. Nenna Ndukwe, UNITAD’s Lead Psychologist, H.E. Mr. Matti Lassila, Ambassador of Finland to Iraq, and H.E. Jaco Beerends, Consul General of the Netherlands consulate in Erbil presented opening remarks, while UNITAD’s Witness Protection and Support Unit provided an overview of the evolution of international standards in witness protection programs and the trend in adopting trauma informed practice within investigations. Additionally, Dr. Daryn Reicherter, Clinical Professor and Director of the Human Rights and Trauma Mental Health Program, Stanford University, Mr. Tomi Jansson, Senior Strategic Adviser on Organized Crime, the EU Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAMI) and Ms. Delkhwaz Haciy, Legal Advocacy Officer, Yazda Organization gave keynote remarks.
During the conference, participants from multiple governmental agencies and civil society organizations from Baghdad, Erbil, Dohuk, Nineveh, and Kirkuk engaged in discussions of case studies on the role of mental health providers in international investigations. The case studies discussed providing support to witnesses, and emphasized the value of documenting the psychological harm inflicted on survivors to be considered in justice process. Participants also conversed on the national needs and capacities in the area of providing psychosocial support and employing trauma-informed approaches in their programming with survivors and victims of ISIL, as well as in justice processes.
The conference came as a milestone in UNITAD’s promotion of the Team’s pioneering model of victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches among civil society and governmental entities, each working towards enhancing best practices in Iraq for supporting victims of ISIL from all affected communities.
To learn more about the activities of UNITAD’s Witness Protection and Support Unit Psychologists, you may read this article on the Team’s website.