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What of our unfulfilled promises?

Situational Assessment and Policy Brief on Syrian women refugees’ experiences in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

“Every refugee everywhere lives in need of some kind of support...”

- Syrian woman in Darashakran refugee camp 

2022 marks the twelfth year of the Syrian war – a conflict that has created one of the largest displacement crises in decades. Nearly 260,000 Syrian refugees reside in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), each carrying the trauma of their flight while struggling to find basic accommodation and food on dwindling resources or debt.  

Download the Report
Click to download the Report

In our surveys and discussions with Syrian refugee women in the KRI, they overwhelmingly call upon the international community to support peace and to not forget them. In this report, we urge decisionmakers, institutions, and stakeholders at the global, national, and community levels to listen to Syrian refugees - especially women - who ask not to be forgotten amidst the war that displaced them over a decade ago and the aftershocks of the recent war in Ukraine creating so many more refugees like them. 

Women for Women International have been working with Syrian refugees living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq since 2017. Over this time, we have provided socio-economic training and space for community building as durable solutions to address displacement and heightened economic insecurity. In May 2022, Women for Women International spoke with 112 women in three refugee camps in the KRI (Basirma, Darashakran, and Kawargorsk) via surveys, focus group discussions, and interviews.

The objective of these conversations was to better understand their current experiences and primary challenges, identify any promising support mechanisms, and to listen to their self-articulated hopes for their future.  

One overarching message emerged: What feels like a forever war must not become a forgotten war. 

“Stop the wars and create an environment where children can be innovative and live in peace for brighter future.” 

This report makes recommendations that are directly derived from the voices and lived experiences of Syrian refugee women their top recommendations call for: 

  • Peace 

  • Meaningful Participation 

  • Transparent and Expedited Resettlement 

They also identified priority areas for actions to address: 

  • Economic challenges 

  • Education challenges 

  • Mobility, security, and GBV challenges in camps 

  • Healthcare and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Access Challenges 

Beyond acting on these specific recommendations, policymakers and advocates alike must maintain urgency around addressing the long-term impact of the Syrian war on Syrians – wherever they are in the world. 

Click here to download the report.

Share the report and amplify Syrian refugee women’s voices: 

Sample Tweet 1: Launch on World Refugee Day 20th June 

This #WorldRefugeeDay Syrian Refugees living in the #KRI share their experiences, challenges, & calls for action in “Unfulfilled Promises: Situational Assessment & Policy Report” @womenforwomen. Read more: womenforwomen.org/unfulfilled-promises

Sample Tweet 2: Syrian Conflict 

The #SyrianWar is now in its twelfth year, whilst international attention has understandably moved to #Ukraine we urge you to listen to #SyrianRefugee women to support their calls for peace and sustainable solutions to economic crisis. Read more: womenforwomen.org/unfulfilled-promises 

Sample Tweet 3: Report Recommendations 

This #WorldRefugeeDay read @womenforwomen recommendations for action to support #SyrianWomenRefugees in KRI: 

  • Immediate + durable economic solutions 

  • Quality, accessible education  

  • Increased mobility/security in camps 

  • GBV prevention & support 

  • Accessible + affordable healthcare, #MHPSS.  

Read more: womenforwomen.org/unfulfilled-promises