This short documentary features two sexual violence investigators on the Justice Rapid Response-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster who were deployed to the UN's investigations in Syria and Iraq, and four survivor-witnesses they met during their work - examining brave efforts to bring perpetrators to justice, and the importance of quality and timely investigations of sexual and gender-based violence.
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Tanya Gilly Khailany, from Iraqi-Kurdistan, is a former member of the Iraqi Parliament (2006 – 2010) and a co-founder of the SEED Foundation, an organization that works with survivors of violence and trafficking in Iraq. An outspoken women’s rights activist, Ms. Gilly Khailany was one of the key parliamentarians who legislated the 25 per cent quota for women in Iraqi provincial councils. As an expert on political participation and peacebuilding, she recently spoke at a side event on the margins of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly on 26 September in New York.
A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Pari Ibrahim, 27, is the founder and Executive Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF), an independent, non-profit organization that provides services for women survivors of the violent ISIS attacks on the Yezidi community, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
On 19 September, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Iraq to the United Nations in Geneva, human rights activists and UN Women participated in a side event of the 36th Human Rights Council, where they discussed the "Impact of Terrorism on the Rights of Women".
During a recent emergency mission near eastern Mosul, where military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have destroyed formerly thriving communities, UN Women distributed urgent necessity kits containing basic provisions for families and feminine hygiene products to 144 families who have fled the Mosul conflict, and now live in IDP camps.
The situation is very grim in Iraq. We run into many young women who have run away from their homes, who have been trapped by a trafficking group who have put them in brothels, who want to escape to have a better life, and they cannot go back home because they will be killed.
Three of the world's worst humanitarian crises in the world are in the Arab Region. Five of the countries in the regions-Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Palestine-are going through open or protracted conflicts. Many more countries are dealing with the consequences of these conflicts with a constant influx of refugees and an alarming rise of violent extremism.