UNDP continues efforts to enhance response to sexual and gender based violence in Iraq

Feb 9, 2017

Legal aid attorney, Ms. Athra’a Hamid: “Today’s exercise helped us to understand how to better implement a survivor-centred approach in representing IDP women.” Photo: Baraa Afif/UNDP Iraq/2017

Baghdad- Within its continuing efforts to address sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducted a workshop on 9 February 2017 at Al Nahrain Centre for Strategic Studies in Baghdad, titled Advancing Understanding of SGBV to Enhance Response. This was the second workshop on the topic UNDP’s Rule of Law Programme facilitated for the staff of its legal aid implementing partner, Dar Al-Khibra Organization (DKO). 

Attendees discussed best practices in addressing incidents of SGBV in camps of Internally Displaced People (IDPs), drawing on national and international experiences. Additionally tackled were appropriate interview techniques, client counselling, follow-up procedures, as well as dangers and pitfalls of allowing SGBV cases to be mediated or subjected to reconciliation by unskilled practitioners. 

UNDP’s Consultant, Mr. Sean Lees, said: “The objective of the workshop was to strengthen understanding the types of SGBV, its causes, and consequences, in order to enhance legal aid response to women survivors in displaced settings. The workshop was in furtherance of wider efforts by the Rule of Law Programme to increase access to formal justice institutions, raise awareness of respective rights, and build capacity of legal aid providers.”

“These workshops are important for sharing experiences, and building our knowledge about what works in handling SGBV cases,” said DKO legal aid attorney, Ms. Athra’a Hamid. “Today’s exercise helped us to understand how to better implement a survivor-centred approach in representing IDP women.” 

Greater access to justice is recognized as a key priority under Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, as well as the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 that Iraq has adopted early 2016. Since 2011, UNDP has supported efforts to strengthen access to justice to vulnerable groups in Iraq with a specific focus on criminal, personal status, and SGBV related cases. In 2016, UNDP provided legal aid to approximately 4240 displaced women and girls across Iraq, including nearly 500 in partnership with DKO; around 10 percent of these cases involve SGBV.


Chamila Hemmathagama, Programme Manager, Rule of Law, (m) +964 751 184 3529

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