ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SVC) Pramila Patten on Thursday urged authorities to protect survivors of sexual abuse following the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS).
Patten joined the international community in congratulating Iraq on its victory against IS in Mosul after a nine-month long campaign.
However, she warned of the risks survivors now face in displacement, especially women and children.
“I urge all relevant stakeholders to ensure the return of women and girls from [IS] captivity in safety and dignity,” she said.
The SRSG also encouraged them to welcome and support the women and girls “in healing and reintegrating back into the community.”
Additionally, she pressed the authorities and officials “to address all their human rights protection needs, in particular those of children born to survivors of rape.”
Patten commended the efforts of religious leaders in issuing public statements, including fatwas on the protection of survivors of sexual violence.
She urged them to facilitate dialogue between communities to “help address the specific grievances suffered by mothers and their children born of rape” and to promote acceptance of those children.
The SRSG also called for immediate actions to hold perpetrators accountable and pledged the support of the United Nations in this regard.
Following the 2014 emergence of IS in northern Iraq, the militants carried out mass executions and imprisoned and sold Yezidi (Ezidi) women in markets in Syria and Iraq as sex slaves.
According to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) figures, IS extremists enslaved 6,417 Ezidis.
So far, 3,048 Ezidis—1,092 women, 334 men, and 1,622 children—have been rescued or have escaped IS, but thousands remain in captivity.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany