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Ban the Shelter Ban

Stand with Iraqi Organizations to Overturn a Ban on Women's Shelters

The battle to retake Mosul is raging. For two years, the nightmare ISIS imposed on the people of Mosul meant rape and sexual enslavement for women. 

Now fleeing Mosul, many of these same women are marked by stigma against rape survivors. They may be turned away by family members they had hoped would shelter them. Worse, they risk becoming the victims of so-called “honor killings,” often committed against women who have been raped.

Our local partners, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), operate vital safe havens for women escaping life-threatening violence. But they have to do so illegally. 

That’s because the Iraqi government does not allow local organizations like OWFI to run women’s shelters.

"Shelters are thought of as encouraging women to disobey their husbands and daughters to disobey their fathers. This leads to the presumption that a shelter is a place where a group of immoral women reside without a male guardian.”  -  Yanar Mohammed, Director of OWFI


Women and families are fleeing Mosul in growing numbers, and shelters are needed now more than ever. OWFI and other local Iraqi organizations are calling on their government to overturn this harmful shelter ban. We are working hand-in-hand with our grassroots partners, and we need you to join us.

Here's How


Sign Our Petition

Add your name to support Iraqi women's demand: overturn the ban on shelters. As we advocate with local and international policymakers, you’ll join a growing constituency of pressure for action.

Share Our Work

Through a community of local activists, we sustain viable safe passage for women and girls fleeing violence and ISIS control. Spread the word about this lifesaving work with your networks. 

Want to Delve Deeper?

Humanitarian catastrophes like what's happening in Mosul don’t always come with advance notice, allowing policymakers and aid workers time to ramp up their operations. So it’s especially galling that Iraq’s government has tied the hands of their most valuable crisis responders: local women’s organizations.

Primary Source: Our Advocacy Agenda

Together with Iraqi and global human rights organizations around the world, we're calling on international policymakers to address Iraq’s shelter policy. We're bringing our advocacy demands in a letter directly to those policymakers to call for new action to overturn the shelter ban.