Press release 151/2013
16 July 2013
Finland and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality UN Women have on 16 July released a report on the sexual violence suffered by Syrian women refugees in Jordan. The report also covers issues of child protection and particularly early marriages among Syrian girls. UN Women has compiled the report in collaboration with other international and local organisations.
The report is part of a broader UN Women project to advance women’s political participation in North African and Middle Eastern Arab states. One of the project’s objectives is to improve the position of Syrian women refugees. To this end UN Women has created a protected zone for women at the Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan, giving them the opportunity to share their experiences and receive vocational training.
Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala visited the Za’atri refugee camp in June, meeting both UN Women representatives and Syrian women refugees living in the camp.
“The situation in the camp is so critical that some have actually decided to return to Syria, despite the ongoing fighting. It’s particularly hard for women. Not only have they been driven from their homes into the desert, but life in the refugee camp is overshadowed by a constant threat of violence. Improving women’s situation must be one of Finland’s priority objectives,” Minister Hautala says.
The project’s overall objective is to support women’s participation in promoting peace and security, to improve the opportunities of women candidates and parliamentarians, and to develop more egalitarian administrative structures. Finland has committed two million euros in funding to the project, which is scheduled to run from 2012 to 2015.
The UN Women project is part of a broader support programme by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs for the ongoing transition in North Africa and the Middle East. The main emphasis is on supporting democracy, human rights and the rule of law. In all areas special focus is given to women’s rights.
The Finnish Government’s annual support through regional projects in North Africa and the Middle East amounts in total to 5.9 million euros..
Inquiries: First Secretary Pekka Marttila, tel. +358 40 730 2747, First Secretary Suvi Tuominen tel. +358 50 349 5320, Unit for the Middle East and Africa