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On November 17, 2012, the Iraq Foundation (IF) conducted an initial meeting for the bill drafting process. IF invited legal experts, judges and professors to review the WEL taskforce recommendations on laws that discriminate against women and assist in the interpretation process of these recommendations into effective bills. Attendees included:

  •  Ali Rufaie, Former Dean, Law College – Baghdad University
  •  Ali Fauzi, Professor, Law College – Baghdad University
  •  Judge Hadi Aziz, Retired Judge
  •  Ahmed Al Mainy, Advisor, Shura Council
  •  Firas Zuhair, Advisor, ICOR
  •  Ali Omar, Advisor, ICOR
  •  Sabah Al Kerboli, Political Advisor, ICOR

Attendees discussed the nine articles selected by the WEL taskforce and its social and cultural heritage. The attendees also discussed potential experts, who will be able to carry out the professional bill drafting task.

On November 21, 2012, IF was invited by Mr. Sabah Al Kerboli, Political Advisor, Office of the Presidency, ICOR, for a follow up meeting in the ICOR to discuss further the laws selected by the WEL taskforce.  Mr. Al Kerboli showed a potential interest in the State shelters draft law. The next step will be conducting a meeting for the stakeholders (State Ministry for Women, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Finance and Women, Family and Childhood committee in the ICOR). This meeting will also include some of the shelter residents to discuss their needs and means to reflect them in the drafted bill. IF will following the same strategy on the other selected laws as well.

IF identified four legal experts to be in the Bill drafting committee:

  •  Judge Rahim Al Ugaily, Higher Judicial Council, Former Head, Commission of Integrity (COI)
  •  Ahlam Al Lamy, Board Member, Iraqi Bar Association
  •  Hisham Al Ftyan, Lawyer, Iraqi Bar Association
  •  Hamid Al Sakban, Lawyer, Iraqi Bar Association

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WEL was profiled in Al-Sabah newspaper. The headline reads “Women for Equitable Legislation Project Aims to Increase Legal Rights.”

Please refer to the WEL project website in Arabic for updates on activities!

On September 22 & 23 2012, IF held the WEL Lessons Learned Meeting at Erbil International Hotel in Erbil. Over 50 participants attended the meeting including Iraqi lawmakers and legal experts from the executive and judicial branches, and representatives of civil society organizations from Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces, including the Kurdistan region.  Also, four regional experts from Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon and Jordan attended to exchange and compare methods of advocating and adopting national legislations based on women’s rights. The LL meeting was attended by IF’s Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Selwa Al Gailani.

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IF has a number of new developments to share regarding the WEL project.

On July 12, Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, IF’s Executive Director, met with WEL staff in Baghdad to discuss the upcoming Lessons Learned Meeting in September. Six Iraqi experts provided research documents on laws that were determined by the WEL taskforce as requiring legal action. Five regional experts were identified from countries which had previous initiatives in promoting women rights.

On July 14, Ms. Al-Rahim, met with WEL Legal advisor, Judge Salim Rawdhan, and Iraqi experts to discuss the status of the regional experience report to be submitted by Judge Salim.

Also this month, IF continued working on obtaining the audio of the Bill Drafting Meeting as part of the technical guide IF is producing. IF is also working on identifying a video production company to produce the other portion of the technical guide from the lessons learned meeting.

Stay tuned for updates to the WEL website,!

On April 7 2012, IF held the first part of the WEL bill drafting training at the Alwaiyya club in Baghdad. This “Policy Analysis” meeting aimed at looking at the impact of laws and their social, economic, financial, and political repercussions. Speakers included Dr. Kassem Inaya (Ministry of Planning), Haithem Al-Juburi (MP-Finance Committee) and Judge Salem Rawdan. The meeting was attended by 32 persons including members of Parliament, government officials, legal experts, civil society representatives, and members of the judiciary. The workshop was attended by IF’s Executive Director, Ms. Rend Al-Rahim.

The second part of the bill drafting training took place in Erbil on April 28th & 29th at Van Royal Hotel. This technical part was provided by a variety of experts including head and members of the Kurdistan Shura Council, members and staff of the COR legal committee, and members of the judiciary as well as professors who provided lectures on the technical language.

The activities were chaired by: Judge Salem Rawdan, Sha’ab Personal Status Court and member of the Higher Judicial Council. The meeting was attended by members of the council of representatives, senior government officials, legal experts, professors and civic leaders on women’s issues.

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April 7, 2012: Bill Drafting Workshop, Part One: “Policy Analysis,” Alwayah Club, Baghdad

April 28 – 29: Bill Drafting Workshop, Part Two: “Technical Part,” Van Royal Hotel, Erbil

On April 30 2012, IF held the third roundtable meeting in Erbil at Van Royal Hotel. At this meeting, the WEL taskforce agreed on a series of legislative actions aimed at protecting women’s rights, which include calls to repeal existing laws, suggestions to enforce existing laws or drafting new legislation that helps implement women rights.

The activities were chaired by: Judge Salem Rawdan, Sha’ab Personal Status Court and member of the Higher Judicial Council. The meeting was attended by members of the council of representatives, senior government officials, legal experts, professors and civic leaders on women’s issues.

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IF is pleased to announce that during the month of march, Ms. Suhaila Al-Asady, IF’s Baghdad-based Program Manager, was awarded the distinguished woman medal from the Iraqi bar association medal for her professionalism and enthusiasm as a dedicated lawyer. A photo of her award is available below.

During the month of March, IF worked on preparing for upcoming bill drafting workshop in early April. The workshop will train participants on drafting legislation to respond to the specific needs of Iraqi society and within the Iraqi constitutional framework. The workshop will also train participants on advocacy strategies to win support for their reforms in Parliament.

Throughout the month, WEL staff conducted preparatory meetings with the Her Excellency Ibthal Kasid Al Zaidy, the Minister of Women, and  Judge Salim Rawdan, Member, Higher Judicial Council. Meetings were chaired by IF’s Executive Director, Ms. Rend AlRahim. Other preparations for bill drafting workshops were carried out in coordination with Judge Rawdan and included activities such as: identifying trainers and participants, preparing a draft agenda according to the suggestions of trainers, gathering instructional material from the trainers, and sending invitations, the agenda and any other related materials for the workshop to the participants.

IF continue to perform follow up on the roundtable meetings and Judge Radwan will coordinate with the legal experts, who will provide their research in their area of expertise.

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On February 20, 2012, IF held the second WEL roundtable meeting. The goal of the meeting was to further discuss the outcomes of the first roundtable discussion and to narrow down the options that were identified for legal actions to protect women’s rights. The meeting was chaired by Judge Salem Rawdan and attended by IF’s Executive Director Ms. Rend Al-Rahim as well as 13 legal experts both male and female.

In preparation for the meeting, Judge Rawdan prepared a comprehensive report, based on the outcomes of the first roundtable discussion and including suggestions for legal action. The report was broken down into the three following sections: (1) Suggestions for laws to be revised (including the personal status law, the labor law and the penal code); (2) Suggestions for laws and decisions to be repealed; and (3) Suggestions for laws to be drafted.

Among the legal topics discussed during the meeting were: the definition of the marriage contract, marriage outside the court, the right to custody, and the husband’s right to discipline his wife. Participants agreed on a number of revisions to these laws. Participants also suggested drafting new laws including a law to encourage business owners to hire women through giving them financial incentives for doing so and giving financial rewards for families who support orphans.

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On January 27 2012, IF held the first roundtable meeting at the Van Royal Hotel in Erbil. The goal of the meeting was to examine major areas where gaps exist in Iraqi legislation relative to the constitution and internationally accepted human rights law as well as explore how these gaps impact women and society as a whole. Participants assessed the progress that has been made in protecting women’s rights to-date, including the activities of the Committee of 80 and the lifting of Iraq’s reservation Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW).  During the meeting, many laws were identified as in need of legal action. The laws were grouped into the following three categories: domestic violence/honor killing, discrimination in the workplace, and trafficking. Participants also suggested drafting new laws to better protect women’s rights. A group of experts will prepare research papers, surveys and studies based on the outcomes of the roundtable and in preparation for the second roundtable meeting scheduled to take place during the end of March.

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Under the title “Closing the Gaps in Legislation for Women’s Rights,” IF held the first roundtable meeting in Erbil on January 27th.











On December 10, 2011 IF held the Women for Equitable Legislation (WEL) project’s 1st legal experts meeting in Baghdad’s Alwya club.  Bringing together a variety of legal stakeholders, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss  the most important laws (or gaps in legislation) that need to be addressed to improve women’s rights, the most significant initiatives undertaken to date to address these laws, the obstacles faced, and suggestions for the best strategies and tools. Participants  including judges from the Higher Judicial Council, judges from Shura Council, and representatives from the Prime Minister office, State Ministry for Women and Ministry of Human Rights, as well as civic leaders and legal experts.

A second meeting took place on Thursday, December 29 at IF’s Baghdad office. Twelve participants attended the event including Judge Salem Al-Rawdan, who chaired the meeting, a number of female lawyers, two representatives from the Ministry of Human Rights, including the Ministry’s General Director and the head of the Women’s Department within the Ministry, and two representatives from Relief International. The meeting discussed the most important laws, decisions and orders dealing with women’s rights, the most significant initiatives taken to date to address these laws, obstacles hindering the effectiveness of these initiatives and suggestions for best practices and tools. Participants discussed laws, decisions and legal orders pertaining to violence against women (violence in the home and in the workplace and honor crimes), discrimination in the workplace and slavery and trafficking of women and girls.

Selected Photos:

Judges meeting
December 10, 2011 
Alwya club, Baghdad









Female legal experts’ meeting
Thursday, December 29 
 IF’s Baghdad office