The High-Level Conference on the implementation of the NAP1325 in Iraq took place on 27 October 2016 in Baghdad. It was organized by the Cross Sector Task Force, herewith Task Force, for the implementation of the NAP 1325 in Iraq in partnership with Euromed Feminist Initiative and with the financial support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Iraq. The conference gathered the ministerial and institutional teams from the Task Force with members of parliament, legal experts and women’s rights organizations, as well as representatives from UN agencies and international community, to mark the anniversary of UNSCR1325 on women, peace and security and discuss during one day the level of the implementation of the NAP1325 in Iraq. The participants also discussed responsibilities of the Task Force, propositions for changing of laws that hamper the implementation of UNSCR1325, the involvement of the civil society in the implementation and monitoring of the NAP as well as role of the international community in supporting NAP.
From left to right: Ms Jonsson ED Euromed Feminist Initiative, Dr Al Alaq SG Prime Minister Office, Mr Sinjari Minister of Interior KRG
The Conference was opened by the Secretary General of Prime Minister Office Dr Mahdi Al Alaq, Chair of the Task Force from the Federal Government, who greeted the audience on behalf of Prime Minister Mr Abadi, recognized the importance of the NAP and the vital role of the Task Force. The Minister of Interior of Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Mr Karim Sinjari, Chair of the Task Force from the KRG saluted the Task Force for their achievements, and underlined the major need of having women involved in all stages of peace and democracy building. He also reminded that the NAP should be allocated a budget by the Federal Government in order to enable the ministries to fully implement their programs.
Dr Mahdi Al Alaq Secretary General, Prime Minister Office Mr Karim Sinjari Minister of Interior KRG
The Special Representative of the UNSG to Iraq Mr Ján Kubiš underlined the importance of comprehensively addressing the issues covered by the NAP, noting that the impact of conflict-related sexual violence will also necessitate examining women’s political representation and participation in governance structures. The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Iraq, Mr Jan Waltmans emphasized that the Iraqi inclusive and concrete NAP is an important tool to improve the position of women, women’s rights and gender equality in Iraq and therefore is a model in the region. He also underlined that the NAP1325 Task Force, with the civil society being structurally a part of, is a unique model. This model helps the government institutions align their policies, plans and activities in the right way, to the women on the ground and the women who need support.
Mr Ján Kubiš Special Representative of the UNSG to Iraq Mr Jan Waltmans, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Iraq
Ms Amal Jalal forwarded the greetings of the Secretary General of the Women’s High Council KRG, Ms Bakshan Zangana and reminded that this conference is a continuation of the previous meetings of the Task Force in Erbil where the ministries announced their plans for implementation of the NAP. Ms Boriana Jonsson, Executive Director of Euromed Feminist Initiative underlined the objective of this process, which is to contribute to women’s rights and gender equality as an integral part of democracy and peace building in Iraq and stressed that the Task Force is a driving element of the process.
Ms Amal Jalal, Women’s High Council KRG Ms Boriana Jonsson, ED Euromed Feminist Initiative
Ms Suzan Aref, Coordinator of the Task Force and Mr Qasim Abdallah Jasim, Chairperson Operation Room 1325, General Secretariat of Council of Ministers, Baghdad made an overview of the achievements of the Task Force in engaging ministries in Federal Iraq and Kurdish Autonomous Region in the planning the implementation of the NAP 1325, in structuring their work, and having started implementing major actions connected with among others provision of legal and psychological advise to women refuge victims of sexual violence and displacement, and training activities on UNSCR1325.
Ms Suzan Aref, Coordinator Task Force NAP1325 Mr Qasim Abdallah Jasim, Chairperson Operation
Room 1325, General Secretariat of Council of Ministers
Ms Natalie Atmore from the Political Section of the British Embassy in Baghdad shared the experience of the UK NAP and underlined the importance of building coherence across ministries and with civil society in order to make it easier for international community to prioritise funding requests and avoid duplication. Ms. Idah Muema, Gender Advisor/Gender Unit/OSRSG, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), spoke on behalf of the UN Agencies, reaffirming the commitment of UN agencies to continue supporting civil society and the governments in the NAP implementation.
From left: Ms Natalie Atmore, Ms Idah Muema, Mr Qasim Abdallah Jasim, Ms Suzan Aref
The panel with legal experts and decision makers featured Dr Tareq Rasheed, Member of Iraqi Parliament and Head of Legal Committee Task Force1325, Mr Ameer Alkinani, Legal Advisor President of Iraq and Ms Rezan Dlair, Women’s Committee Iraqi Parliament. They updated the audience on the work of the legal committee of the Task Force 1325 and discussed the need of changing the identified laws that discriminate against women.
From left: Mr Ameer Alkinani, Legal Adviser President Iraq, Dr Tareq Rasheed, Member of Parliament and Ms Rezan Dlair, Women’s Committee Iraqi Parliament
Civil society representatives from the Alliance 1325, Iraq Foundation and Iraqi Women Network underlined the commitment of the civil society to implement and monitor the NAP 1325. They presented the work being done in this regards and reminded that they will continue to be watching the implementation of the NAP and supporting it.
Ms Amal Jalal, Mr Qasim Abdallah Jasim From left: Ms Thifaf Thapit Al Jarahi Iraqi Foundation, Ms Intisar Mayali, Alliance 1325, Ms Amal Gubashi, Iraqi Women’s Network
In the current context of serious regression of women’s rights, the NAP is an essential tool to ensure the implementation of measures guaranteeing a certain level of protection and equality, not least through supporting changing of discriminative legislation and providing concrete support to victims of violence, but also strengthening participation of women in all decision-making levels.
The audience From left to right: Ms Gudmundsson, Swedish Embassy, Ms. Annika Molin Hellgren, Ambassador of Sweden to Iraq, Mr Sinjari,Minister of Interior KRG
The implementation of the NAP is an ongoing process and it has already a major impact in the MENA Region in terms of awareness about the UNSCR1325 among civil society, as well as governments. The success of the implementation process can open in the region the opportunity to exchange the Iraqi exemplary experience and can encourage other countries in the adoption or implementation of NAPs 1325.The discussions also emphasized that in the process of implementation and in order to increase this impact and improve the current situation for women in Iraq and in the region, a more considerable support of the international community remains an essential part. Therefore, the conference provided as well opportunity for a conversation between the Task Force, broader civil society, and representatives of a large part of the international community.
The Masterplan for implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Iraq 2016-2017, with the structure of the Task Force, can be accessed here.
Some of the photos in this article were taken by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.