To address violence in the wake of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in association with an international NGO, Un Ponte Per, has implemented a project to help women and girls in the Raqqah region of Northeastern Syria.
Support was offered to women and girls in areas where the risk of violence is highest and the needs are most acute. Those who received assistance were located both in camps for internally displaced persons (Idleb Al-Khadraa, Khayala, Al-Ansar) and on the Raqqah City outskirts of residential areas where accessing services is difficult. Around two thousand girls and women were provided with information with the aim of raising awareness and lowering the risks they faced from gender-based violence and domestic violence. The project also offered consultations and information concerning COVID-19 and how to mitigate its spread. Practical assistance and basic necessities were given to the people involved in the project.
In cooperation with local partners including the North East Syria Interagency humanitarian coordination body for Gender-based Violence Task Force, the Women’s Council to Raqqa, the Protection Working Group, the Site and Settlement Working Group, and the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Network, the assistance was directed to people who most needed it. Also in consultation and cooperation with local partners, questions of urgency were identified and the various international assistance programmes present in the area were arranged so that they did not overlap. In this manner, it was ensured that resources would be used most effectively.
The project was implemented in line with the aims set out in the United Nations Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace and Security” adopted by the organisation on its 20th anniversary and the priorities of the National Action Plan of Latvia for 2020-2025. This was a contribution to the efforts of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to stabilise the security situation in the north of Syria. The project's costs were EUR 50,000.
The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS was established in 2014 and it has 83 members and organisations, including Latvia. By Cabinet Order No. 455 of 21 August 2020, Regarding the contribution of funds from the State Budget “Emergency Funds” Programme, EUR 50,000 were directed toward an initiative coordinated by the U.S. Department of State under the auspices of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
The humanitarian organisation, Un Ponte Per, has been active in the field of women’s health and the protection of their rights for 28 years, and, since 2015, it has been implementing programmes to support women in Syria.
The total amount of Latvia’s humanitarian assistance to Syria has been EUR 313,000 since 2012. The most recent contribution by Latvia paid into the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis – the “Madad Fund” – was EUR 10,000 in 2019.