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The Iraqi High Judicial Council, in cooperation with the Iraq Foundation and with the support of the US Department of State – Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), has launched a mobile application that provides several services including news updates, investigative journalism, Federal Supreme Court decisions and Cassation Court decisions. This application comes as part of IF’s HEWAR project to boost the HJC’s communication with stakeholders and citizens. To download the application please use the following links:

iTunes
Google Play Store

IF is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sayyid Shakir Sayyid Mahmood Al-Sumaidaie, the father of our board member Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie, and head of the Sumaidaie clan. Our thoughts are with his family as they go through this time of loss. We extend to them our sincerest condolences.

On Jan. 24, 2015, in an extraordinary move by the  modern founders and activists in  Iraqi civil society, the first Civil Society Leaders Conference was held in the Oil Cultural Center.  The conference honored 50 activists and civil society organizations, from all of Iraq’s provinces, who have contributed to Iraq’s civil society for more than 10 years. The Iraq Foundation was one of the first organizations to be honored, as well as a number of organizations which founded the core of  Iraqi civil society after  2003. The event also honored activists  like Umaia Aljibara,  lawyer Saadia Lami, and others who have sacrificed their lives in order to advance Iraq’s civil society. The conference was held in the presence of hundreds of organizations working in Iraq as well as members of the House of Representatives, the Baghdad Provincial Council, and the Commission on Human Rights.

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Generous donations have had a two-fold impact on internally displaced persons in Iraq, as it has allowed for the immediate distribution of aid by our partner NGO’s, as well as financing needs assessment for these partner organizations to address the humanitarian situation among IDPs.

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In Ninawa, IF and its partner, Corporation of Child Rights and Family Protection provided food baskets to 730 people in Maskalat-Alqoush, over 100km from Erbil. Diverse communities have benefited from our aid, including Christians, Muslims, Yazidis and Shabak, who have been deprived of aid due to their proximity to ISIS-controlled territories. The food baskets included staples such as rice, cooking oil, beans, tomato paste and other items, and went to those displaced from Tilkeef, Singar and Mosul. In addition, the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization utilized IF-raised funds to supply IDP communities in Bartalla with food, water and medicine for children.

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IF and its partner, Alrafidain NGO for Community Development and Reconstruction, distributed baskets of food and non-food items to 75 IDP families. These families had been displaced from Anbar, Salah Aldin, Beji and Samara to Yahyawi camp and temporary shelters in Lailan, Kirkuk. The items distributed included flour, blankets, pillows and mattresses.

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Donations also allowed IF and its Ninawa and Kirkuk-based organizations to conduct needs assessment to show the basic needs among displaced populations. In Maskalat-Alqoush, it found that IDPs are in desperate need of food items, core relief items, health services, clean water and sanitation. In a final assessment in Kirkuk, it was discovered that there are 180 families living in temporary shelters and 360 families living in the Yahyawi camp, all of whom are living under very difficult circumstances due to cold weather and rain.

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As this humanitarian crisis continues to unfold and winter has come to these northern areas of Iraq, IDP families will be in even greater need of shelter, medication for children and adults, blankets, food, heaters, and heating oil. For this reason, The Iraq Foundation is renewing its appeal on behalf of IDPs, and we hope that you will respond to this call to alleviate their suffering. Every dollar donated to this appeal will be 100 percent directed towards providing desperately needed humanitarian aid. Additionally, contributions to The Iraq Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, may be tax deductible. Please consult an accountant.

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Please make donations through the Iraq Foundation’s click and pledge account or using our main website and clicking “Donate” in the top right corner. Please indicate that your donation is for Iraqi IDPs under the “Comments on your donation” box. Please consider helping The Iraq Foundation in assisting the Iraqi people whose livelihoods have been disrupted and threatened by violence; we cannot do it without your support. We thank you in advance for your generosity.

As part of the Hewar project funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), IF in with Strategic Communication Consultancy (S2C) successfully concluded the “Second Media Follow up Workshop” for the High Judicial Council (HJC) in Beirut, Lebanon for the period August 24 – 28, 2014. The workshop was attended by high-level members of the HJC headed by Chief Justice His Excellency Judge Medhat al Mahmood.

The workshop focused on how communication can help the HJC accomplish its mission. The workshop also gathered participants’ feedback and garnered consensus surrounding the Communication Strategy & Outreach Plan developed in the “Communication Strategy Workshop” held in Sulaimaniyah in January 2014 and the “First Media Follow-up Workshop” held in May 2014 in Beirut. To this end, participants heard presentations and case studies coupled with highly interactive discussions which have led to a full endorsement of the objectives and content of HJC’s future Communication Strategy & Outreach Communication Plan.

The workshop also tackled media related topics, such as conveying concise and strong messages, crisis communication & media relations and social media networks.

Chief Justice, Judge Medhat Al-Mahmoud presented a speech praising HEWAR’s efforts in raising the citizens awareness with their legal rights.

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As part of the Hewar project supported by INL, IF concluded its workshop in Beirut on August 28, 2014. We were honored to have present with us the Head of the Judiciary Branch (High Judiciary Council) His Excellency, Judge Medhet al Mahmoud, and a delegation of senior judges.

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IF would like to recognize the efforts of Ms. Suaad Allami, a human rights lawyer and a longtime partner of IF. She was recently honored at the 13th Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Award, attended by Hillary Clinton and held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. IF leveraged her legal expertise to provide support for PEACE and WEL (Women for Equitable Legislation). See below a photo of Suaad.

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photo courtesy of Inclusive Security

To read more about her story, please click here.

 

With refugee camps  in Dohuk, Erbil, and others of the country already past capacity, aid organizations struggling to provide basic services to victims of ISIS  are ill-prepared to serve the new influx of IDPs.

  • Christians in Mosul have been targeted by ISIS fighters. Despite an initial promise that they could remain if they paid a special tax for non-Muslims, reports indicate that those who have chosen to stay are being stripped of their possessions and killed.
  • An IDP camp in the Shekhan district of Ninewa province has doubled in size in the last two weeks, straining limited resources and placing immense pressure on aid workers to increase the rate of tent construction.
  • In Kirkuk province, local authorities estimate that a further 16,000 families have been displaced in the previous two weeks.

The worst conditions are faced by Yezidis fleeing Sinjar.  Having faced the atrocities of rape and summary execution, they have taken refuge  in mountains with little access to basic necessities. Assyrian inhabitants of Baashiqa have also fled into the mountains .

The Iraq Foundation is working closely with local humanitarian organizations with which we have established long-term relations to provide essential needs to IDPs through a fundraising campaign. To date, IF has raised $7,250, and we hope you will generously support this effort. Hammourabi Human Rights Organization (HHRO) in Ninawa has received IF-raised funds and  provided food, water and children’s health supplies to IDP communities in Bartalla (Ninawa province) in acute need of water, shelter, and health provisions. Pictures below indicate some of the work we have done so far:

In the past month, a new wave of 200,000 internally displaced persons from Ninawa province  have fled the onslaught of ISIS. Following ISIS takeover of Sinjar, hundreds of Yezidi men were summarily executed, women were raped, and thousands of Yezidi families have fled to the mountain, where they face thirst and hunger in blistering heat. Their need for water, food, and shelter is critically urgent.

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Your contribution to the Iraq Foundation may be tax deductible under section 501(C)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Please consult your tax adviser. The Iraq Foundation’s tax identification number is available on the click and pledge page.

 

An article from “Y-News – Baghdad”

July 21, 2014:

I am Christian-A message from Iraqi Muslims against violence

In the al-Ghadeer region east of Baghdad, dozens of Muslim civilian activists gathered at Saint George’s Church in solidarity with Iraqi Christians. These Christians have been forcibly displaced by ISIS militants acting in the name of a so-called Caliphate State. Entering the church on Sunday, one could not differentiate between Christians and Muslims.  Everybody gathered focused only on speaking of peace.

The atmosphere in the church sent a message to the world saying that there is no difference between Christians and Muslims in this country: Iraq belongs to us; there is no place for terrorism in it. Christians and Muslims stood together, the former reciting verses from the Bible while the latter recited Surat Al-Fatihah from the Quran. The Bible and the Quran were wrapped with the Iraqi flag, the Iraqi Flag was mediating the audience, who stood in the courtyard of the church. Attendees’ faces mixed together, reflecting the unity of Iraq. The Christians at the Church welcomed their supporters with smiles for their solidarity.  Civic activists placed a banner at the entrance of the church, reading “No for displacement any Iraqi, I am Iraqi…I am Christian.

Mr. Yousif Al-Tamimi, organizer of this solidarity activity with the Christians, said to “Y-News”: “This solidarity demonstration expresses the discontent of Iraqis regarding the forced displacement faced by the Christians in the northern city of Mosul. We are a group of civic activists who insist on our Iraqi citizenship and nothing else. We have left all other affiliations behind us.”

 

He added that “the suffering that the Christians are facing in Mosul embodies the ugliest pictures of violations against humanity.  The aim of ISIS is to return back the situation in Iraq to the days of ancient tribal judgments.”

When he gave his speech during Sunday mass, the Patriarch of the St. George’s Church expressed his gratitude towards the civil activists for their support, and said: “Just as you raised the banner that said ‘I am an Iraqi…  I am Christian,’ so will I say ‘I am an Iraqi…I am Muslim.’”

He also said that “Iraq is undergoing a dangerous time now…where some entities are trying to disturb the unity of our society.  And those who are displacing the Christians now do not represent Islam at all. True Islam is what you have come with.  It is when you expressed your rejection for any human rights violation that may affect any Iraqi, where Islam is a religion of love and peace.”

The Patriarch addressed the youth civilian activists who attended the church, saying, “You are the hope of Iraq, you will build this country, your message is a humanitarian one, devoid of any affiliations, where Iraq have gathered us all together.  I thank you for your support, which will remain known through history.”

This was followed by a statement from the civil activists’ representatives, in which he condemned the forced displacements against the Christians in Mosul, while indicating that the government must take responsibility for protecting the Christians. Finally, he described the role of civil society organizations as resisting what the suffering of the Christians.

–Mustafa Saadoun

Translation by Iraq Foundation staff

 

Additional Reading:

Muslims show solidarity with Iraqi Christians in Baghdad rally

Concern and Support for Iraqi Christians Forced to Flee Mosul

Iraqi’s Waterless Christians: The Campaign to Expel a Religion

 

Best wishes from the Iraq Foundation for Ramadan Mubarak.