By John Lee.

A recent contribution of USD2.8 million by the European Union has provided immediate relief to 90,000 vulnerable people -half of them children – in emergency camps in Salamiya, Hamam al Alil and Jeda’a 1 and 5 IDP camps within Ninawa governorate.

Only 39 per cent of Iraq’s population have access to safely managed drinking water. The situation is particularly dire for thousands of vulnerable families living in camps and who depend on humanitarian support for their survival.

“The generous contribution from the EU enabled UNICEF to continue trucking in safe water for drinking and cooking. This helped to protect the health of children and their families from dangerous diseases, including Acute Watery Diarrhea and Cholera, both which can result from the consumption of unsafe water,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

Funds were also used to support appropriate sanitation facilities and maintaining a clean and hygienic environment through care maintenance and waste management, water quality monitoring and distribution.

Iraqi and non-Iraqi children continue to be vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation and in need of protection prevention and response services in both camp and non-camp settings. In addition, many of the children in former conflict areas do not have birth certificate and other civil document, which is a legacy of conflict and upheaval in Iraq. This has restricted their ability to move out of camps and to access to social services like health, education and social protection.

Thanks to the EU’s longstanding support, UNICEF has also been able to:

  • repatriate 200 foreign children back to their countries of origin;
  • provide psychosocial services to 4,235 children (2125 girls);
  • legal assistance to 596 children (188 girls) in contact with the law;
  • A further 1,107 children (373 girls) received birth registration and civil documentation.

(Source: UN)

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it has made the difficult decision to cancel its annual “In Their Shoes” 5K run, originally scheduled for June.

In a statement, the ICF also renewed its call for donations to help it support Iraqi children and their families:

Dear friends,

At ICF, our highest priority is the health and safety of Iraqi children, and of our community of wonderful supporters around the world. With this in mind, and considering the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our “In Their Shoes” 5K in June this year.

While we are disappointed that we will not get to meet in person in June, we need your support now more than ever. Iraqi children and their families face many of the biggest challenges imaginable, now including the rapid spread of COVID-19.

We are committed to continuing to support these children with essential services including healthcare and nutrition, and we will continue to update you with how we are responding to the ever-evolving challenge of the current pandemic.

Please watch this space for more information about how you can support and help us grow our community. We look forward to staying in touch virtually for now, and we will look forward to seeing you for our “In Their Shoes” 5K in 2021.

We will be in touch with anyone who has registered online for the 5K already to outline next steps. If you have the capacity to donate at this critical time, please click the button below. Thank you for your ongoing support; together we will continue to work to protect the vulnerable orphans and street children of Iraq.

With love,

The ICF Team

 

A United Nations report published today finds that some children in Iraq are still unable to receive education in the aftermath of the territorial defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant over two years ago, saying they cannot access schools or obtain key civilian documentation necessary for enrolment in state schools.

The Right to Education in Iraq: The legacy of ISIL territorial control on access to education is jointly released by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report is based upon 237 interviews and group consultations with children, youth, parents and teachers in areas that were controlled by Da’esh/ISIL until their territorial defeat in December 2017.

Several of those interviewed said that they could not move freely in and out of IDP camps due to restrictions on their movement, preventing them from daily activities such as attending schools outside the camps. One boy from a displacement camp in Ninewa Governorate said:

“There is no future in the camp anyway, what am I going to do here? Why do I need an education for this life? It has been so long since we were at school, our minds feel closed to learning, some of us can no longer even read and write. We have no support to overcome these things. Even if I could take the exams, I would not pass them. I don’t see a future for myself.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the importance of the right to education for children and young people cannot be overstated:

“When the full enjoyment of this right is impaired for any reason, their lives and futures are severely impacted … Inclusive, quality education is not just a right in itself but it is essential for the full realisation of a range of other human rights. Education literally has the power to transform lives and make dreams come true.”

While acknowledging the steps taken by the Government to ensure access to education, the report identifies two main challenges specific to the community. Firstly, the absence of appropriate programs aimed at reintegration of students into the state education system, particularly given that many have suffered a significant time gap in their schooling. Secondly, the impact that limited access to civil documentation is having on school enrolment.

The report indicates that these issues have been compounded by the fact that many adolescents have now reached an age that where traditional primary or junior education may no longer be appropriate, that there are an insufficient number of schools or accelerated learning programmes, inadequate teaching hours, and movement restrictions.

The report calls on the Government of Iraq to take measures to overcome existing administrative and security clearance challenges for children to obtain civil documentation and to revise existing provisions of accessible forms of education for children who have missed years of education due to ISIL control.

The report was shared with the Government of Iraq and integrates comments received from the Ministry of Education, annexed to the report.

“Access to education must be guaranteed for every Iraqi child,” said Danielle Bell, Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office. “Alternatives for those who missed out on their school years due to conflict must be found.”

For the Arabic version of the report, please click here

For the English version of the report, please click here

(Source: UN)

Ayda (not her real name) lives with her mother and little brother in a house built of mud and sheet metal in a poor neighborhood in Baghdad.

She attends the Hope Bus regularly and also works collecting empty cans from landfill to support her family.

Ayda loves going to the Hope Bus because she gets to learn and spend time with other children. She wants to be a teacher one day just like the teachers on the Hope Bus!

Your generous donations help us keep the dreams of Ayda and the other children alive. This Valentine’s Day, support Iraq’s most vulnerable children:

GIVE NOW

(Source: Iraqi Children Foundation – ICF)

It’s (almost) Christmas, so please spare a thought for those less fortunate who will have little to celebrate on the 25th.

Please consider the AMAR Foundation‘s appeal this year which highlights the plight of Yazidi teens whose young lives have been ruined by ISIS.

More than one third of the 6,800 Yazidis abducted in Sinjar in 2014 were children under 14, We want to reach as many of these children as possible and help them reclaim their childhoods.

Please click here to help us help them.

(Source: AMAR)

It’s (almost) Christmas, so please spare a thought for those less fortunate who will have little to celebrate on the 25th.

Please consider the AMAR Foundation‘s appeal this year which highlights the plight of Yazidi teens whose young lives have been ruined by ISIS.

More than one third of the 6,800 Yazidis abducted in Sinjar in 2014 were children under 14, We want to reach as many of these children as possible and help them reclaim their childhoods.

Please click here to help us help them.

(Source: AMAR)

The children of Iraq are in crisis. An estimated 800,000 were orphaned by the end of the Iraq War.

The invasion by ISIS displaced more than 1.3 million. Thousands work on the streets, in homes, or in businesses.

They are why the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) exists: to intervene on their behalf with love and hope.

On Giving Tuesday, 3rd December, all new monthly donors will receive a 100% match on their first donation, and the ICF is competing for a share of $500,000 in matching funds.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government is denying thousands of children whose parents have a perceived Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation of their right to access an education, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

The children, who were born or lived in areas under the control of ISIS between 2014 and 2017, lack the civil documentation the Iraqi government requires for school enrollment and the government is making it difficult for them to acquire it.

More here.

(Source: HRW)

On the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, UNICEF launches an online petition asking decision-makers to invest more in Iraqi children

This week, UNICEF Iraq launched its #Pledge4Children petition to kick off its celebration of the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, or CRC.

The CRC is the most ratified human rights treaty in history and the most comprehensive set of rights for children. When world leaders came together, in a rare moment of international unity, to adopt the CRC, they committed themselves to fulfilling their obligations by ensuring that every child and adolescent is able to exercise his or her full rights.

The Government of Iraq signed up to the convention in June 1994.

“By ratifying the convention, Iraq committed itself to making sure every child is protected, educated, and able to lead a healthy and fulfilling life,” explained UNICEF Iraq Representative Hamida Lasseko.

Tremendous progress has been made since then, despite years of conflict and instability in the country. More, however, still needs to be done to ensure that children in Iraq are protected and have their full rights as enshrined in the CRC, including their right to education, play, freedom, and safety.

In order to do so, UNICEF Iraq is asking the Iraqi public to endorse its #Pledge4Children online asking decision-makers to reaffirm their commitment to children’s rights.

“We are calling on all of you to show your support for children and adolescents in Iraq. Every voice counts. We want you to add yours to our campaign by signing our petition and pledge for children today,” added Ms Lasseko.

The pledge calls for decision-makers to:

  • Increase public investments in quality health care, quality education, and safe water, so that every child and adolescent has a fair chance to reach his or her full potential
  • Listen to children and adolescents impacted by our policies and services and take their voices into consideration when formulating policies that impact their lives
  • Ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence and abuse

#Pledge4Children is part of UNICEF’s year-long run of activities, workshops and partnerships to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CRC and raise awareness about children’s rights in Iraq.

Listen to Ms. Lasseko’s full message in this video & Sign the petition and #Pledge4Children to call on Iraqi leaders to commit to fulfilling the rights of every child in Iraq and invest more in children.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities have charged hundreds of children with terrorism for alleged Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said, adding that the prosecutions are often based on dubious accusations and forced confessions obtained through torture.

The 53-page report, “‘Everyone Must Confess’: Abuses against Children Suspected of ISIS Affiliation in Iraq,” shows that Iraqi and KRG authorities often arrest and prosecute children with any perceived connection to ISIS, use torture to coerce confessions, and sentence them to prison in hasty and unfair trials.

International law recognizes children recruited by armed groups primarily as victims who should be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

More here.

(Source: HRW)