Evidence of Hope: Investigating Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Syria and Iraq

This short documentary features two sexual violence investigators on the Justice Rapid Response-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster who were deployed to the UN’s investigations in Syria and Iraq, and four survivor-witnesses they met during their work.

Filmed in Germany, Turkey and the United States, the film goes behind the scenes into how investigators approach the challenge of finding victims of SGBV, collecting evidence, and building a case, while always prioritizing the well-being of survivors. The film presents perspectives from three Yazidi women, each with her own harrowing story of survival, as well as an activist from Syria, whose hope for a revolution faded when she was targeted for speaking out. All survivors of sexual violence, they explain why it was important for them to share their story with SGBV investigators working with the UN Syria Commission of Inquiry, and the UN fact-finding mission to Iraq.

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The Justice Rapid Response- UN Women SGBV Justice Experts partnership works to ensure investigations into sexual and gender-based crimes are professional, impartial, and timely. This partnership manages and can rapidly deploy from a stand-by roster of currently 217 SGBV justice experts, and has already done so on 67 times since its inception. While not the only roster that can support work in this critical area, it is the only one where expertise dedicated to SGBV investigations represents every region and legal system in the world.

Ahead of the annual United Nations Security Council’s annual open debate on women, peace and security, JRR and UN Women are highlighting the work of SGBV experts who have deployed to support documentation and investigation efforts around the world.

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