Sophie’s mission in Iraq: Duchess of Edinburgh offered comfort to survivors of sexual violence and spoke with children in a refugee camp during secret trip
- Sophie also met with PM of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani
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More details have emerged from the Duchess of Edinburgh’s secret trip to Iraq.
Sophie, 58, was requested to visit the Kurdistan Region of Iraq this week by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Buckingham Palace announced.
The unannounced trip was kept a secret for security reasons.
This was in support of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS), and to continue the Duchess’ work to champion the survivors of conflict related sexual violence.
She visited the capital Baghdad for two days where she heard about the challenges facing Iraqi women and girls and the ongoing work to protect and promote their rights.
Pictures of Prince Edward’s wife show her sat on the floor with children at at the Qadia Camp in Duhok in a white linen dress
The Duchess then travelled to Erbil where she spoke with civil society organisations working to address the impact of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and to promote the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace processes.
While in Erbil, the Duchess heard a Yazidi survivor’s experience of being separated from her children born of rape and her efforts to be reunited with them.
Sophie was received by the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani.
She wore a long-sleeved white dress with black polka-dot pattern and pink and red roses, which featured pearl detailing, as she was pictured listening intently to Barzani.
She also met the Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani and visited the Erbil Citadel, a UNESCO-designated world heritage site (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
This is a specialised agency of the United Nations which is aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences and culture.
During this visit, Sophie donned a sapphire blue short-sleeved dress which she paired with a brown belt and a patterned bag.
In another snap taken from inside the camp, she is holding a rolling pin, as she is being taught how to bake a dish
During a visit to the Erbil Citadel, Sophie donned a sapphire blue short-sleeved dress which she paired with a brown belt and a patterned bag
She spent time with Yazidi survivors of conflict related sexual violence at Qadia Camp in Duhok, which is home to over 13,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The survivors spoke to the Duchess about the difficulties and the stigma they face.
She witnessed the skills that survivors and other IDPs at the camp can use to support their families and to secure employment, facilitated by UN International Organization for Migration.
While in Duhok, The Duchess also met female Shabak and Turkman survivors of CRSV.
Pictures of Prince Edward’s wife show her sat on the floor with children at at the Qadia Camp in Duhok in a white linen dress.
In another snap taken from inside the camp, she is holding a rolling pin, as she is being taught how to bake a dish.
The Duchess was also photographed listening attentively to an International Organization for Migration worker outside the camp, wearing a pair of sunglasses on her head.
She wore a long-sleeved white dress with black polka-dot pattern as she was pictured listening intently to Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani
The Duchess was also photographed listening attentively to an International Organization for Migration worker outside the camp, wearing a pair of sunglasses on her head
On Tuesday, it was reported that Sophie visited a high school for girls, and spoke to students and teachers about education for young women in the country, and their hopes for the future.
As part of her surprise visit, she also toured a family planning centre, where she heard about the work being carried out to support the reproductive health and wellbeing of Iraqi women.
She also met female business leaders to discuss the importance of women’s economic empowerment.
During her time in Bagdad, Duchess Sophie also delivered a message of greeting from the King to the Iraqi president, Abdul Latif Rashid, and the First Lady during a special audience.
The Foreign Office advises against all travel to the majority of provinces in Iraq, amid the threat of violent protests in and around the International Zone in Baghdad.
Charles, as the Prince of Wales, travelled to country in 2004 when he visited military personnel in Basra during the Iraq War.
In 2006, Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, made a surprise trip to see British troops in Basra when he was 85.
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