Savan Abdulrahman – Iraqi Kurdistan
Child abuse is a worldwide phenomenon, but it poses particular problems in eastern countries such as Iraq. When we speak of child abuse it could mean anything between direct abuse and violence to mental abuse.
According 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 suffered physical abuse. Similarly, 18 percent of boys and 10.8 percent of girls faced sexual harassment.
Recently a collaborative workshop was held in Iraqi Kurdistan between Sweden and Kurdistan to tackle the issue. The aim of the workshop was to decrease violence against children and its negative influence both in the family and in the education system. In the workshop many methods of working were shared among experts in the field.
A documentary, which was translated into Kurdish by the Nina Organisation in Sweden, was also presented. It sought to raise awareness about how family violence and parental fights in the household affect children both in the short and long term.
Kamaran Lateef, one of the workshop presenters, said, “If children of today are raised under family pressure and violence, we will have a ruined future. Children in Kurdistan face both physical and mental violence, whether it be child labour or verbal abuse”.
The general organiser of the workshop was the Nina National Organisation for Women’s Right in Sweden and the collaborative organisations who participated in the workshop were the law firm Barbro Sjöqvist & Rebecca Lagh, Foundation 1000 Opportunities, Peoples’ Development Organisation in Kurdistan and the Public Aid Organization in Erbil.