Psychosocial and legal support for Iraqi and North-East Syrian families
Iraq and Syria are facing significant challenges in their recovery from the war which resulted in a humanitarian crisis, the displacement of millions of people, and the destruction of infrastructure and basic services. Lack of livelihoods and access to basic services pushes vulnerable groups to normalise negative behaviours like domestic violence, GBV or armed group affiliation. Mercy Hand Europe and the International Social Service Switzerland work together to provide Iraqi and North-East Syrian families with social, legal and psychological support, and to strengthen child welfare and child protection systems in Iraq. We provide social, psychological and legal assistance to women and children in cases of violence, abuse, divorce, and mental instability, through our team of social workers, lawyers, psychologists and translators, as well as address cross-border migration cases.
Referral centre for child counselling and female empowerment in Talafar
Nearly 4 years have passed since Talafar District, Iraq, was liberated from ISIL’s military occupation, but significant challenges still prevent the recovery of the area. Lack of livelihoods and access to basic services pushes vulnerable groups, such as IDPs and returnees, to normalise negative behaviours like domestic violence, GBV or armed group affiliation. Children and women are especially vulnerable in those situations, and they are the first to become at risk of being victims of diverse types of violence. The project, supported by Anne Frank Fonds, established a referral centre to provide psychological support to children and women survivors of GBV and other abuses. In parallel, we are conducting a community awareness campaign to promote children and women’s rights, and promote the role of the Iraqi Community Police in preventing violence against women and children.
Providing mental health and psychosocial support for community-based reintegration
During the conflict with ISIS, more than 6 million Iraqis were displaced from their home areas, and an estimated 1.3 million people remain displaced today. Among them, many families formerly affiliated with ISIL are still marginalised and stigmatised, leading to greater destruction and vulnerability of these groups to violent extremism and the targeting of radical ideologies. The Japanese Government and United Nations Development Program supported project aims to target communities in Al-Anbar, Salah al-Din, and Nineveh governorates to better reintegrate ISIL-affiliated families and mitigate any future tensions. the objective is to strengthen community psychosocial reintegration support for children and adults formerly associated with ISIL, victims of GBV, and selected community members by providing free services by psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers, as well as training in basic psychosocial skills in post-conflict settings.
Strengthening civil society and the rule of law in Iraq as a peacebuilding tool
In Iraq, the response to human rights violations often remains lacklustre due to the lack of resources and capacity of the governmental offices. However, the civil society, especially CSOs, can move towards fostering respect and compliance to human rights with the right capacity, understanding, and tools. Supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, funded by ifa, this project provides training for CSOs in Erbil and for ICPs and prison staff in Baghdad, aimed at human rights promotion and application, as well as capacity-building. Furthermore, the project also hosts a roundtable discussion between key ICP and prison staff members in Baghdad which allows to host a forum where obstacles to justice and rule of law are identified and addressed during training.