Baghdad, Iraq, 21 July 2017 – The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), in collaboration with UN Women and the Government of Iraq National Reconciliation Committee, Office of the Prime Minister’s Women and Gender Affairs Department, jointly organised a consultative meeting with senior women leaders, former ministers, former members of parliament and former advisors to discuss the participation of women in Iraq’s National Reconciliation process.
The consultative forum, held in Baghdad on 18 July 2017, aimed to identify the current challenges that hinder women’s participation and representation in national reconciliation and decision making processes, as well as explored possible solutions to address these challenges.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (DSRSG), Mr. György Busztin, underscored that Mosul’s liberation is a landmark achievement for Iraq and the wider region. He noted that “The liberation of Mosul is a rare moment to strengthen national unity and restore the social fabric as well as an opportunity to facilitate the return of the displaced people, stabilization and forge national reconciliation”.
DSRSG Busztin emphasised that “ISIL’s ultimate defeat and eradication of its toxic ideology can only be secured through a long-term reconciliation process that improves governance, provides better services, restores security and installs appropriate security structures that ensure justice and accountability”. He assured participants that the UNAMI leadership was actively engaged with Iraqi senior political leaders and is continuously advocating for participation and representation of women in reconciliation and dialogue efforts to ensure that the voices of women are heard and taken into account.
Taking into consideration that women and girls continue to bear a terrible and disproportionate burden from the effects of conflict with ISIL, UNAMI, in collaboration with UN Women – our partners nationally and globally in leading the Women, Peace and Security agenda – has commenced a series of consultations with Iraqi women leaders. “Their views should be central to all peace-building, justice-seeking, stabilization, reconstruction and reconciliation efforts”, said DSRSG Busztin.
In her opening remarks, UN Women Representative in Iraq, Ms. Dina Zorba, highlighted the importance of an inclusive process for a sustainable peace where evidence from around the globe proves that women’s substantive involvement in peace processes lead to a long lasting one. “It is a priority to ensure that Iraqi women participate in all decision-making processes at all levels”, she said.
Participants at the meeting highlighted the importance of engaging with senior political leaders to ensure that women were represented fairly in all reconciliation and decision-making processes. Mr. Ali Abass, representative of the Head of the National Reconciliation Committee, Office of the Prime Minister, noted that the leadership in the Committee is very keen to engage women in national reconciliation process at all levels.
Mr. Abass further added that the representation of women at executive and legislative levels, in the social and political sphere is also important noting that “the National Reconciliation Committee, with the support of UNAMI, is working together to ensure inclusive participation and representation of all Iraqi components including women, youth and civil society organisations in reconciliation and the National Settlement Initiative”. He also informed that the National Reconciliation Committee is part of the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 cross sectoral taskforce, with the mandate to implement the Iraqi National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. He also advised that the Prime Minister has directed the Committee to receive the survivors who have escaped from ISIL during the military operations in Mosul. The Committee coordinated with international NGOs and civil society organisations to ensure the provision of services to these survivors.
During discussions at the meeting, participants called for smooth transitional justice post-ISIL period and accountability against those who have committed crimes against women including sexual violence in conflict. They also noted that amending the Political Parties law to ensure representation of women in parties’ leadership was one of the main recommendations. “It is important to support and empower independent women in the political process to be represented in decision-making positions”, stressed participants.
UNAMI and UN Women, in collaboration with the National Reconciliation Committee, will continue engaging with civil society organisations, women activists and women leaders in all Governorates, as well as in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on women participation and representation in national reconciliation and national dialogue. Other meetings will be organised in different governorates including the liberated areas.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Khalid Dahab, Deputy Director of Public Information/Deputy Spokesperson, UNAMI
Phone: +964 790 194 0146, Email: Dahab@un.org
or the UNAMI Public Information Office: email@example.com
Ms. Dina Zorba
UN Women Representative in Iraq
Phone: +964 770 192 9401, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org