Middle East and North Africa
Political instability and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have led to mass displacement, a surge in refugees, and severe widespread abuses against vulnerable populations. As civilians face continuing, systemic challenges to human rights protections – exacerbated by the protracted wars in Iraq and Syria and the rapid expansion of extremist groups – HAI has provided services to help protect those in need.
Heartland Alliance first began working in the Middle East in 2004, providing specialized trauma-informed mental health and torture treatment services in Iraq. Our impact expanded in response to the Iraqi refugee crisis in 2010-2011, when HAI opened an office in Lebanon to respond with emergency services, such as legal counseling and trauma-informed care for the most vulnerable communities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) refugees. Today, HAI’s emergency response services continue to serve areas in Lebanon impacted by the Syrian refugee crisis, focusing on support for women and children from both the Lebanese and Syrian communities and preventing gender-based violence.
In the Middle East and North Africa, HAI’s priorities continue to be supporting the needs of the most vulnerable groups, including women, children, religious and ethnic minorities, internally displaced people and refugees, and survivors of torture, human trafficking, gender-based violence, and other forms of trauma. To address these groups, HAI provides direct services and works with local non-governmental partners and helps build the capacity of health and mental health professionals, legal service providers and judicial officials, government organizations, and the media.