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Launch of the first psychosocial hotline in Libya - Statement of UNFPA Libya Representative Ms. Bérangère Böell-Yousfi

Today is a special day for women, girls, men and boys in Libya!

In partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the PSS team, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is proud to jointly launch with H.E. Ms. Fadi Mansour Al-Shafai, Minister of the Ministry of Social Affairs, and Mr. Abdulmuniam Karkam, Director of PSS Team, the first psychosocial hotline in Libya with the free number 1417.

This joint initiative is the perfect example of how the Libyan Government steers change and seeks to improve the lives of all people throughout Libya with the support of the Libyan civil society; the coordination, technical expertise and resources of the UNFPA; and the financial support from the French government.

Today, we see the outcome of hard-working months, led by the Ministry of Social Affairs, UNFPA and PSS team, for making sure that staff are well trained and qualified, the center is fully equipped and services are available.

The objective of this hotline is to assist the most vulnerable population, victims of violence, to provide them with guidance and access to psychosocial support, legal counseling, and referral services to health and other essential services.

There are serious mental health issues that arise as the impact of any crisis and conflict, yet too often psychosocial problems remain overlooked and unaddressed.

Those caught in humanitarian emergencies suffer trauma and invisible wounds, as devastating and crippling as any physical harm, which often leave wounds for life.

Survivors can face long-lasting challenges to their health and well-being, and too often, suffer in silence. This further leads to increase in Gender-Based Violence.

UNFPA and its partners are committed to scale up access to mental health care and psychosocial support for women and girls in humanitarian settings. That’s why we are here today to establish this toll-free hotline service.

Very important point: the hotline is free and offers anonymity and confidentiality for the callers.

Everyone in Libya, regardless of their nationality, status and gender, can access this hotline (1417). Where they can express their concerns, distress and ask for help while keeping their identity secret.

This service is especially important for the most vulnerable persons residing in remote and conflict-affected areas where basic services for psychosocial support, mental health, legal assistance and health care are disrupted or lacking.

Today’s launch comes on the 10th day of the 16 days’ campaign of activism against Gender-Based Violence under the joint leadership of UNFPA and the Libyan Ministries of Social Affairs and Education. We have been also joined by many national and international partners, including our sister UN Agencies.

This campaign is the first of its kind in Libya with activities conducted throughout the country with a Libya tailored slogan: “Take Action; violence is not a solution”.

While we pray for peace and stability to urgently return in Libya, 2019 ends with strong commitments and engagements from the Libyan government, the Libyan people and local associations for ending violence and more specifically Gender-Based Violence as seen through the numerous programs broadcasted in the media, billboards on the streets, and activities conducted in several cities.

TV shows, including evening news, radio stations, newspapers and social media participated in raising awareness on different topics related to Gender-Based Violence, while promoting debate and advocacy towards gender equality.

The contribution from Libyan media is precious. UNFPA thanks them for their commitment towards a violence-free society, gender equality and women and girls’ protection. We count on their support to continue throughout the year!

Before concluding, I would like to extend my warmest gratitude and appreciation to UNFPA partners: The Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Education, the PSS team, the Scouts, Women Union Sebha, Albyan, Huna Libya, Y-peer, Tamzigh Women Movement, Amazonat Libya, the Canadian and French governments, and all the UN Country Team under the supportive leadership of the D/SRSG/RC/HC Yacoub El-Hillo.

 

While our voices are louder during the 16 days of activism, our commitment and actions last 365 days, every year, to serve all people in need, throughout Libya.

One person at a time, we can rebuild lives, communities, and entire countries.  

Together let’s ensure the hotline launched today contributes effectively to putting people first and leave no one behind!

Sukran Jazilan

 

**The hotline has been established thanks to the generous contribution from the government of France. The 16 days’ campaign of activism against Gender-Based Violence is co-financed by the government of Canada.