On October 2, 2021, a covenant agreed among Iraq’s confederate tribal leaders was announced at the Babylon Rotana Hotel in Baghdad in a joint initiative between the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Sanad for Peacebuilding, a non-governmental, nonprofit organization working to promote peace and non-violence in Iraq. The covenant was signed by more than 40 confederate tribal leaders and 40 tribal leaders from all over Iraq, with the participation of the Minister of Migration and Displacement, Mrs. Evan Faeq Jabro, and the presence of parliamentarians, clerics, representatives of the security sector, international organizations, local organizations, and networks. This initiative, which lasted for more than three years, included numerous dialogues and workshops designed and led by members of the Iraqi Network of Facilitators (NIF) with tribal leaders and government officials.
The covenant aims to confirm support for the state of law and stability in Iraq and to harmonize tribal customs and practices with Iraqi law and human rights, as well as to highlight the role of Iraqi tribal leaders in enhancing stability and the rule of law and maintaining human rights in Iraq. The covenant included important amendments to tribal customary law, such as ending revenge killings and retaliations and enhancing women's protection and rights in tribal practices.
After a welcoming speech by the master of the ceremony, Mr. Baha Qais, in which he welcomed the audience and the Iraqi national anthem, Dr. Elie Abu Aoun, Director of Middle East and North Africa Programs at the United States Institute of Peace, delivered a speech in which he emphasized a commitment to the importance of human dignity and its roots in Iraq's religious and social values. Abu Aoun confirmed the devotion of the Institute and Sanad Peacebuilding Organization to the implementation of this covenant after its announcement and communication with all concerned parties, foremost of which is the Iraqi government with all its sectors, considering the covenant as a starting point for a long path that may take years to achieve the desired goals.
Then, the Minister of Migration and Displacement, Ms. Evan Faeq Jabro, welcomed the attendees and highlighting the importance of the project and its outcomes through the covenant and said: “Signing this covenant by the confederate tribal leaders will give momentum to the efforts to support the rule of law on one hand, and will increase the level of trust between the tribes and the state regarding the role of the tribal leaders in eliminating practices that may affect and weaken the state”.
The conference was concluded with a closing speech by the Director of Sanad for Peacebuilding organization, Mr. Ali Dawood, in which he thanked the attendees, and pointed out: “Sanad for Peacebuilding is committed to support the tribal leaders along the way to implement and follow up on the covenant action items” After the speeches, the covenant clauses were read out, then the tribal leaders signed it to confirm their adherence to what had been agreed upon.