Savan Abdalrahman – Iraqi Kurdistan
Child abuse is a worldwide phenomenon, but it is of particular concern in eastern countries such as Iraq. When we speak of child abuse it could mean from anything from violence to mental abuse. According to the latest UNESCO data on child abuse in the Middle East, 18.8 percent of boys and 10.1 percent of girls under the age of 18 have experienced physical abuse. The same data shows that 18 percent of boys and 10.8 percent of girls have suffered sexual harassment.
Recently a collaborative workshop involving Sweden was held in Iraqi Kurdistan to cover the matter. The aim of the workshop was to decrease violence against children and its negative influence both in the family and on the education system.
The project involved the exchange of experiences and working methods in Sweden and Kurdistan. The programme agenda included a documentary which was translated into Kurdish by the Nina Organisation in Sweden. The documentary aims to raise awareness of how family violence and parental fights in the house affect children both in the short and long term.
Kamaran Lateef, one of the workshop presenters, said, “If today’s children are raised under family pressure and violence we will have a ruined future. Violence towards children in Kurdistan can be physical, as in child labour, or mental, such as verbal abuse”.
The General Organiser of the workshop was the Nina National Organisation for Women’s Rights in Sweden, and the collaborative organisations who participated in the workshop were the law firm Barbro Sjöqvist & Rebecca Lagh, Foundation 1000 Opportunities, the Peoples’ Development Organisation in Kurdistan and the Public Aid Organisation in Erbil.