Civil Initiative of NGOs and the Iraqi women's network on the new resolution

Iraqi civil society organizations and women activists, demand support through the work of the UNAMI and the United Nations family. CSOs present a number of proposals for consideration during the upcoming discussions of the UN Security Council on the renewal of the mandate for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Given the current security situation which has continued to deteriorate due to the conflict with ISIL, which is threatening also the security of the whole MENA region and the global security, we are particularly concerned about the situation of women and children, especially those living in areas under military operations and the huge number of IDPs exceeding 4 million. Plus, CSOs are concerned about the gross violation of Human Rights. Reports of sexual violence against women and girls continue to be received and boys continue to radicalized and recruited as terrorist fighters. The organizations are also concerned about the situation of minorities’ communities; which have been particularly borne the brunt of ISIL atrocities.

As a key priority to be included in the upcoming renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the organizations call for a comprehensive peace-building strategy for Iraq and it is important that (UNAMI) should render qualified advising, supporting and assisting Iraqi people, including civil society organizations (CSOs) and Government taking into account measures should be taken on long and short terms and directed towards:

  • Advancing inclusive political dialogue to strengthen the state institutions according to the Constitution.
  • It is imperative that national reconciliation in Iraq cannot be achieved without realizing the requirements of transitional justice and social cohesion in community and on national level.
  • Assist in promoting the current regulations, laws, and other mechanisms to protect human rights principles, taking into consideration the structural violence and exclusion embedded in and advanced by current Iraqi legislation, including the Penal Code and the Anti-terrorism Law. Further support should be provided for enactment new laws suggested by the Civil Initiative of the NGOs to the Iraqi Council of Representatives: “Protection of Diversity  and Anti-discrimination” and “Protection of IDPs”, which will contributing to the protection of the rights of minorities and other components, and to promote national unity and civil peace in our country.
  • Promote full and equal participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) and human rights defenders including women’s leaders and representatives in the reconciliation process, in preventing violent extremism and resolving conflict. We call upon the international community and UNAMI with regard to engagement to establish formal consultative forums with civil society activists and women human rights defenders in this area.
  • While the ongoing military operations against ISIL’s controlled areas are welcome, there is a need to develop a strategy for the protection of civilians living in areas under military operations and in this respect it is required to build and enhance the capacity of the Iraqi security apparatus including the assurance of respect for human rights.
  • Develop a national plan with effective mechanisms including monitoring and sufficient resources to address the problems of the displaced persons and the migrants, who most of them are from minorities, in regards to sustainability of the humanitarian aid, and how to provide a safe environment close to their residence by international protection in order to encourage the displaced people to return, and ensure at the same time the areas are not subjected to demographic change which would destroy the unity of the social fabric of our people.
  • Special consideration to the plight of women and girls captive by ISIL and it is a matter of urgent to up-scale resources within UNAMI and the UNCT to address the needs of women and girls affected by sexual violence. Furthermore, we urge that the new UNAMI mandate take into account the issue of strengthening accountability for atrocities and human rights violations including sexual violence committed by ISIL and other affiliated terrorist groups. We call for the speedy deployment of women protection advisors as recommended in this year’s ‘Annual Report of the Secretary General on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence’. We also urge that follow-up action be taken on the Independent Human Rights Investigation Team report on human rights violations committed by ISIL issued in April 2015.
  • The lack of funding remains the biggest challenge to Government and Civil society organizations to ensuring the Implementation of the Special Emergency Plan on the Implementation of SCR 1325 which was endorsed by the Council of Ministries in May 2015. Civil society organizations are in need of funding to implement not only women, peace and security programmes at national, governorate and local levels, but also funding to support the CEDAW recommendations provided to Iraq in February 2014 and the Beijing Platform for Action provisions.

In addition to the above points, we are looking forward to the upcoming the UN General Assembly Heads of State and Government session this September and the annual Open Debate of the Security Council on Women, Peace and Security this October which will discuss the findings of the Global Study on the implementation of SCR 1325 and the High- Level Review at the 15 anniversary of 1325. We call upon the Permanent Members of the Security Council to consider the following:

  • The Government of Iraq together with civil society organizations are current working together to globalize advocacy support for the passing of a UN General Assembly resolution on the protection of women and girls from minorities’ communities from violent extremism and terrorism.
    • As civil society organizations, we hope that the upcoming high-level event on countering violent extremism due to take place at the margins of the UN General Assembly Heads of State and Government session this September will provide direction on a global approach on countering violent extremism and will discuss further the empowerment of women and youth in countering radicalization as called for in UN Security Council 2178 of September 2014.
    • Recommit to the principles and transformative potential of the women, peace and security agenda and develop effective and sustained implementation strategies. We urge that civil society engagement be institutionalized at the Security Council level.
    • Iraq, being the first country in the MENA region to launch a National Action Plan on 1325 is keen to see a more sustained support for the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda; particularly at such time as this when the lives of ordinary women and girls are under assault from violent extremism and terrorism.

As women rights’ activists and civil society organizations we will look forward to continuing working with the UNAMI and the rest of the UN family in Iraq and collaborate further on how best we can achieve civil and community peace, to defeat terrorism and to ensure building a democratic civil state in Iraq, as well as to enhance the progress on addressing women, peace and security concerns affecting Iraqi women due to the current conflict with ISIL including the problem of sexual violence.

Finally, we wish to share the recommendations of the first Regional Conference on ‘Women’sResistanceto Extremism and Terrorism and their Struggle for Rights, Peace and Security’ for the MENA Region held on 10-11 May in Erbil organized by Iraq-Al-Amal Association which brought more than 180 participants from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya. The outcome of the conference resulted in the Erbil Declaration which is attached for your information and consideration.

Also, we share the petition of the Road Map for Political Reforms’ Process dated August 20, 2014, which was issued by the Civil Initiative of the NGOs as a plan of reform of the state policy and its three authorities (three states) in order to overcome the heavy legacy of the past years endured by our people.

Source: Iraqi Women Network & Civil Initiative of NGOs