UN envoy on sexual violence in conflict urges protection of survivors released from ISIL-held Mosul

A gender-based violence caseworker (right) listens to a refugee. Photo: UNICEF/ Khamissy

12 July 2017 – The United Nations official advocating against the use of sexual violence in conflict today urged all Iraqis to shun stigmatization, and called for women and girls returning from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) captivity to be embraced into their communities and supported, especially if they have children as a result of rape.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, urged “all relevant stakeholders to ensure the return of women and girls from Da’esh captivity in safety and dignity,” in a statement.

The Under-Secretary-General also called on everyone to welcome the women and girls back into their communities and to support them in healing, as well as “to address all their human rights protection needs, in particular those of children born to survivors of rape.”

Ms. Patten commended the efforts of religious leader in issuing public statements in support of the women and girls, and urged them to continue working within the communities to promote acceptance of the children.

The Special Representative’s Office has been working with the Government of Iraq, including the Kurdistan Regional government, to implement a joint communiqué on prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence signed in September 2016.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) today said that it is working to support almost one million people displaced from Mosul during the nine months of violent conflict.

Sally Haydock, WFP Representative and Country Director in Iraq, said “while we have done our best to support those who arrived to camps weak and hungry, our hearts go out to the thousands of people who lost their lives.”

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