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From March 13-15, 2013 the Iraq Foundation (IF) in partnership with Freedom House held the 1st 3-day workshop for 11 civic leaders at the Tangram Hotel in Erbil. The workshop aimed to prepare participants for the drafting of the “the Third Democratization Report in Iraq”.  The Report will be examining the following topics; 1- Political Parties; 2- The situation of the Council of Representatives; 3- The Freedom of Assembly and Demonstration; 4- The Freedom of Media.

The workshop focused on the fundamental principles of a scientific program in writing reports and conducting research.  The training also discussed the writing techniques to be utilized in drafting the report, evaluation standards and a follow-up plan. Participants and trainers also discussed issues pertaining to political rights and civic freedoms to be covered in the report and appropriate research sources and tools.

The workshop was headed by Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, the Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation.  Two trainers from Freedom House, Dr. Faleh Abdulmajeed and Dr. Saad Hassan, presented the training. The workshop was also attended by four guest-consultants: Judge Raheem Al-Akaili; Ms. Shatha Al-Abousi, Former MP, Ms. Tafkah Omar, General Director of the Human Rights Committee and Head of the Legal Committee in KRG, Dr. Sabah Subhi, and Head of the Political Department at the Law and Politics College / Salaheldeen University.

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On February 23, 2012, PEDP civic leaders held their 11th civic leaders’ meeting at IF Baghdad office to discuss the Second “Democratization in Iraq Report” as well as any challenges civic leaders have encountered. IF’s Executive Director Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, in addition to 16 civic leaders including, a prominent Iraqi political analyst who also served as the head rapporteur, attended the meeting. The goal of the meeting was to go over the timeline to make sure the report is produced and published on time and discuss any challenges that the civic leaders are facing.

Prior to this meeting, IF has held 10 other meetings on the following dates:

Meeting 1: 6/12/2010: All CSL meeting
Meeting 2: 6/17/2010: Coordinators meeting
Meeting 3: 7/5/2010: Coordinators meeting
Meeting 4: 8/10/2010: Coordinators meeting
Meeting 5: 9/23/2010: Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting
Meeting 6: 10/25/2010: Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting
Meeting 7: 2/3/2011: Strategies for Writing Shadow Report
Meeting 8: 9/29/2011:Follow-up on Report Writing
Meeting 9: 10/29/2011:Methodology for 2nd Democratization in Iraq report Meeting 10: 11/26/2011: Freedom House Revisions to Report

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IF successfully completed the 3nd PEDP civic leaders workshop in Erbil from January 20 – 22. 17 civic leaders participated in the workshop aimed at discussing the 2nd draft of a report on the Iraqi Government’s Ability to Safeguard Civil Liberties. During the workshop, participants also evaluated the outcomes of the first report, and developed a strategy to promote the outcomes of the second report. The training was held in partnership with Freedom House and was facilitated by Mr. Marwan Maalouf and Ms. Courtney Radsch.

While the trainers provided important feedback on the drafts, the participants were also able to provide critical reviews of their own work through peer reviewing the report’s drafts across groups and actively participating in the discussions. Freedom House’s trainers provided a thorough review of the draft reports that were prepared by the civic leaders and provided recommendations and writing strategies to maximize reader insight and minimize reader effort.

Selected photos:

 

 

                                                         

On November 26, PEDP civic leaders held their 10th meeting at IF-Baghdad office to discuss Freedom House’s revisions to the methodology for writing the 2nd Democratization in Iraq report as well as go over the work progress to-date. 17 out of the 23 participants attended the meeting. During the first part of the meeting, the rapporteurs relayed to the participants the outcomes of the phone conversation that they had with Freedom House’s expert who is mentoring them and providing feedback on the methodology of the second “Democratization in Iraq” report. It’s worth noting that while the methodology is not final yet, most of the methodology questions are agreed on were used as a basis for the first draft that the rapporteurs started working on and will be submitting to FH for review early December.

Prior to this meeting, IF has held 9 other meetings on the following dates:

Meeting 1: 6/ 12/ 2010. All CSL meeting.
Meeting 2: 6/ 17/ 2010. Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 3: 7/ 5/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 4: 8/ 10/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 5: 9/ 23/ 2010.  Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.
Meeting 6: 10/ 25/ 2010: Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.
Meeting 7: 2/3/ 2011: Strategies for Writing Shadow Report
Meeting 8: 9/29/2011:Follow-on Report Writing
Meeting 9: 10/29/2011:Methodology for 2nd Democratization in Iraq report

Selected Photos:

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On November 26, PEDP civic leaders held their 10th meeting at IF-Baghdad office to discuss Freedom House’s revisions to the methodology for writing the 2nd Democratization in Iraq report as well as go over the work progress to-date. 17 out of the 23 participants attended the meeting. During the first part of the meeting, the rapporteurs relayed to the participants the outcomes of the phone conversation that they had with Freedom House’s expert who is mentoring them and providing feedback on the methodology of the second “Democratization in Iraq” report. It’s worth noting that while the methodology is not final yet, most of the methodology questions are agreed on were used as a basis for the first draft that the rapporteurs started working on and will be submitting to FH for review early December.

Prior to this meeting, IF has held 9 other meetings on the following dates:

Meeting 1: 6/ 12/ 2010. All CSL meeting.
Meeting 2: 6/ 17/ 2010. Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 3: 7/ 5/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 4: 8/ 10/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 5: 9/ 23/ 2010.  Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.
Meeting 6: 10/ 25/ 2010: Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.
Meeting 7: 2/3/ 2011: Strategies for Writing Shadow Report
Meeting 8: 9/29/2011:Follow-on Report Writing
Meeting 9: 10/29/2011:Methodology for 2nd Democratization in Iraq report

Selected Photos:

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On September 29, IF held the eight civil society leaders meeting in Baghdad as part of the Post Election Democracy Project (PEDP).  The meeting focused on the planning and drafting of a follow-on monitoring report to the Democratic Conversion in Iraq published in June 2011.  16 civil society leaders, including 4 new civic leaders, attended the meeting in IF-Baghdad Office.  The follow-on report will cover the following four areas:  Freedom of expression situation, the political parties’ performance, the Council of Representatives performance, as well as an additional area of focus covering the freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration, which was not discussed in the group’s first report.  The follow-on report will cover the period of February 2010 to January 2011. In addition, IF recorded a series of three TV programs on the original report, which will broadcast in October 2011 on Al-Furat TV.

Prior to this meeting, IF has held 7 other meetings on the following dates:

Meeting 1: 6/ 12/ 2010. All CSL meeting.
Meeting 2: 6/ 17/ 2010. Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 3: 7/ 5/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 4: 8/ 10/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 5: 9/ 23/ 2010.  Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.
Meeting 6: 10/ 25/ 2010: Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.
Meeting 7: 2/3/ 2011: Strategies for Writing Shadow Report

Selected Photos

On Wednesday July 20 2011, IF held a press conference in Al-Sayd Club in Baghdad to announce the issuing of the first report assessing the Iraqi government’s transparency and accountability as well as its ability to safeguard the full spectrum of civil and political liberties. The 1st report is named (The Democratic Transition in Iraq Report 2009-2010). The press conference discussed all the 3 chapters of the report: the Media, the CoR, and the political parties for the reported period.

The press conference was attended by number of MPs including: MP, Dr. Saleem Al-Jubouri (Head of the Human Rights Committee in the CoR), MP, Dr. Nada Al-Jubouri, former MP, Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi as well as Dr. Hashim Hassan, Dean of the Media Faculty, and Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation.

The press conference was widely covered by the media and journalists, and 6 TV-Satellite Channels: Al-Furat TV, Al-Rasheed-TV, Al-Sumariya, Al-Ahed, Al-Masar Al-Awal TV, and Al-Masar TV. The guests expressed their thanks to IF for this report and expressed some views on it. MPs who attended the press conference indicated their will to ask their colleagues in the CoR to consider the report for discussion and to specify a session or multiple sessions to listen and discuss its contents.

IF produced the first report assessing the Iraqi government’s transparency and accountability as well as its ability to safeguard the full spectrum of civil and political liberties. A diverse group of Iraqi experts and activists pooled their talents to undertake a first-of-its-kind assessment to examine several key spheres of governance. The locally-based group of civic leaders representing the fields of law, human rights, press freedom, women’s rights, and other areas of civic life, identified three fundamental areas to assess: political parties, parliament and press freedom. Through interviews with other experts and policy makers, analysis of current law and the degree of their implementation, and other first-hand inquiry, they undertook an extensive research process to produce the report. Iraq Foundation and Freedom House provided mentoring in research and writing as well as full editorial review of all reports

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On February 3, IF held a meeting in Baghdad for civil society leaders as part of the Post Election Democracy Project (PEDP).  Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, IF’s Executive Director, chaired the meeting which brought together civil society leaders participating in the project’s government watchdog activities.  During the meeting, participants and project staff review strategies for writing shadow reports as well as national and international advocacy strategies covered during the Watchdog Group Training held in Beirut from December 4-6, 2010.  Participants also discussed draft-reports that the groups have been preparing on media freedom, the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR), and political parties.  Project staff provided insight on research methodologies and other reporting standards to assist the civic leaders.

Prior to this meeting, IF has held 6 other meetings on the following dates:

Meeting 1: 6/ 12/ 2010. All CSL meeting.
Meeting 2: 6/ 17/ 2010. Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 3: 7/ 5/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 4: 8/ 10/ 2010.  Coordinators meeting.
Meeting 5: 9/ 23/ 2010.  Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.
Meeting 6: 10/ 25/ 2010: Coordinators and rapporteurs meeting.

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IF successfully completed the 2nd PEDP civic leaders workshop in Beirut from December 4-6. The workshop was implemented in collaboration with Freedom House (FH) and discussed the democracy monitoring draft reports that the civic leaders are working on.

The sessions included working groups during which participants commented on their own draft reports on monitoring Iraqi media, parliament, and political parties’ performance and transparency. FH incorporated these comments as well as their own comments on the reports and sent a consolidated version to the participants so that they can revise the first draft accordingly.

The workshop also included a session by a Lebanese organization on advocacy planning and coalition building. Participants also agreed to meet again soon in Baghdad to discuss an advocacy plan, including coalition building strategies to gather support before the report is published. 20 civic leaders participated in the workshop. The discussions were very engaging and the level of energy high.