UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, opened a newly renovated women’s protection centre in Baghdad on 11 March. The centre was upgraded and rehabilitated in partnership with UN-HABITAT with financial support from the French Government. The centre provides physical protection and a range of services to gender-based violence survivors.
Dr. Isam Abdul-lateef Al Tamimi, the Director General of the Department of Persons with Disabilities at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, emphasised on the Iraqi Government’s strategy towards protecting survivors of gender-based violence and stated that this protection centre is a positive initiative to empower women and promote gender equality.
Speaking at the event, Mr Eric Chevallier, the French Ambassador to Iraq, highlighted the importance of supporting survivors of gender-based violence. “This is an important milestone for a project that we have been proudly supporting since December 2021. I would like to thank all the stakeholders for their engagement, especially UNFPA and UN_HABITAT and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The project has not only renovated the infrastructure of the Sulaikh Center but has significantly improved the well-being of the young women and girls residing here, even though the project’s ultimate goal is to help them leave this place and rebuild their lives.” “In the coming months, I hope to take part in the inauguration of centres like this one, in Diwaniya, Mosul and Ramadi, which are also part of the project,” he added.
“This centre will provide a safe and supportive environment for gender-based violence survivors in need of critical services and the care that they need to heal”, said Mr Nestor Owomuhangi, UNFPA’s Representative to Iraq. “In addition to establishing services for survivors, UNFPA will be working with the government to improve the policy environment that prevents all forms of violence against women and girls.”
UN-HABITAT Representative Mr Wael Al-Ashhab highlighted the good efforts that both agencies are working on to ensure high quality of renovation of a proper venue that provides a convenient and comfortable environment for vulnerable groups.
The women protection centre will provide survivors of gender-based violence with medical, psychosocial, legal and livelihood support to enable them to reintegrate into society. With support from the French Government, UNFPA in collaboration with UN-HABITAT is also rehabilitating another centre in Al-Diwaniyah and building two new centres in Ramadi and Mosul.