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On December 27, 2016 IF held the final meeting of Al Rasid project in Baghdad to present the Final Monitoring and Evaluation Report. The report showcased the findings of the Provincial Task Forces’ (PTFs) monitoring efforts of the Government of Iraq’s implementation of the National Action plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325, as well as an analysis monitoring the implementation of recommended legal changes with a special section devoted to the needs of IDPs, minorities, and other vulnerable individuals.

In addition, IF presented the TV spots generated throughout the Al Rasid Media Campaign intended to raise awareness on the role of women as peace builders. The videos also highlight the role of men in ending conflict and supporting the NAP and NS.

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Activity 51

IF held multiple meetings throughout August and July under the slogan “Women, Peace and Security through Resolution 1325”. The meetings focused on the importance of enabling women and girls to become effective actors in peace and security, in addition to promoting women’s participation in identifying existing concepts based on community’s perspective of gender. Ms. Rend Al Rahim, President of IF, moderated the training sessions that were attended by 35 participants, 24 of which were women and 11 were men. Among the topics discussed were the achievements of women in local government in regard to UNSCR 1325, the role of the Commission for National Reconciliation in the Baghdad Provincial Council, as well as the National and Emergency Action Plans related to UNSCR1325, in addition to presenting the findings of the interim monitoring reports developed by partner organizations regarding the implementation of the NAP.

The discussions were interactive; Mr. Raad Jabbar the Chairman of the Committee on Relations and Media at the Baghdad Provincial Council confirmed the necessity of women becoming effective actors in the settlement of conflicts in affected areas, as well as actors in achieving security and peace. Mr. Jabbar also stated the need to allow women to represent their peers in the communities that witnesses armed conflict, and enable them to play a role in settlement and peace processes at the decision making level, as a means of raising awareness amongst displaced women regarding their rights and the actions of the government to help them. This would additionally raise awareness in local communities hosting displaced persons on human rights, especially those of women and children.

 

Activity 6

During this reporting period, 22 meetings were convened as a part of Activity 6, taking place in five provinces, including four in Babil, two in Ninewa, five in Erbil, three in Basra, and eight in Baghdad. There, members of the Provincial Task Forces (PTFs) met with local officials and other stakeholders to help implement the National Action Plan. Total attendance of the meetings was 607 participants (383 men, 224 women).

Babil

Discussion centered on the role of local government in developing projects for women in need and allocating funds within the budget for IDPs in 2017. It was highly apparent to many that the province has no clear plans or projects that are specifically designated to respond to women’s needs. On the other hand, improvements were illustrated in the coordination and joint action with government institutions, especially among the female staff in the Babil Department of Health, who ensured women in displaced families are provided with needed services and treatments.

There is a strong desire for third party actors such as banks, including both governmental and private sector, in supporting women economically by providing loan products for displaced women in host communities. Among the recommendations was concentrating on the development of an action plan for female heads of household (FHH) in Babil, and increasing interest in their well-being from the local government.

Meetings addressed essential issues such as the role of local government in limiting the growing prevalence of begging amongst displaced girls, and the extent to which it is becoming a societal risk. Additionally, the group discussed the necessity to coordinate and act jointly with governmental and non-governmental organizations regarding providing housing for orphans, guaranteeing their social welfare, and allowing the judicial system to play its role in protecting civil society pressure on the government to prevent these issues.

IDPs came up with several recommendations including inviting university students to provide research on the activation of the NAP, and collaborating with Babil province on an action plan to increase the allocation of material support for women. Other topics involved increasing awareness on the NAP, establishing leadership courses for women, and highlighting women as leadership figures in the province – especially in the formation of the provincial council’s Committee on the Recommendations of Resolution 1325.

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Ninewa Plain

Local officials met with representatives of various minority communities including Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks, and Kurds. Party representatives, activists, civilians and the media were also in attendance. Among the topics discussed were the needs and priorities of those involved, and the creation of a commission on reconciliation headed by women within the provincial council. The discussions also addressed the challenges hindering the implementation of the NAP in Ninewa Plain, and gave the attendees the opportunity to agree on a unified action plan to be presented to officials.

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Erbil

PTF members presented the social, legal, psychological and livelihood issues that women in the camps are suffering from to camp managers, camp security, and IDP representatives in Erbil province. Among the priorities discussed was the protection of IDP women who work outside the camps, the need for awareness sessions on the NAP for camp management, and the advocating for women-run businesses inside camps.

Among other topics discussed were the role of media in the promotion of UNSCR 1325, challenges faced by IDP women, and how to involve media in the framework of a resolution. The role of media in disseminating a positive cultural image throughout the communities and focusing on commonalities among religions was of great importance. PTFs presented the pillars of the NAP as well as the legal, psychological, and social status of women inside and outside the camps. Participants stressed the need to document abuses against women inside and outside of camps, open an office for FPUs in all the camps, take advantage of IDP teachers in camps to participate in the education process, and establish gender units within government institutions.

In addition to addressing the NAP and the social status of women inside and outside the camps, the PTF conducted awareness sessions for the management of the camps regarding best practices to deal with IDPs, obtain necessary approvals from the Ministry of Health in Erbil to allow physician visits to the camps, increase women’s participation in camp management, and set up a crisis cell between the ministries of Health, Human Rights and the Ministry of Displacement and Migration to address the problems faced by IDPs during displacement.

Attendees from media institutions of Kurdistan discussed the role of the media to conduct investigative reports on the challenges facing women IDPs, the lack of cooperation of displaced people -primarily women- in talking about their situation and the problems they are facing, the need from the government to facilitate the work of journalists inside camps, and the protection of journalists who receive threats from security institutions when covering sensitive matters.

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Basra

Among the greatest concerns for IDPs in Basra is the need for proper documentation, psychological rehabilitation, and opportunities and job training. IDPs who traveled from liberated areas risk exposure to detention and confinement for interrogation. Youth face high rates of dropping out of school, and there is widespread illiteracy in rural and urban areas alike.

Solutions were highlighted to help eliminate these issues through the restoration of compulsory education and literacy, as well as open courses and the urging of local governments and CSOs to implement literacy programs. A committee was formed to visit the Directorate of Education in order to allocate schools to take part in the literacy campaign that would conduct classes after school or on the weekend.

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Baghdad

Health challenges of IDPs, including the absence of a nearby health center in the Hisabat camp, is of great concern to the many people currently living there. Some health laboratories are also lacking critical lab materials, and there is a vast shortage of medical staff, primarily regarding specialists. The overall cleanliness and camp conditions was a significant concern as well, due to the accumulation of waste without proper sterilization in disposal areas, and the proliferation of rats and rodents. Many outreach initiatives were made by the PTF on behalf of the IDPs including increasing health services to the citizens of Al Hurria City, which IDPs can now benefit from.

IDP women had the chance to meet with local officials to present and discuss the problems they faced in education. Among the results of that meeting was raising awareness to officials on the challenges of IDP women, the need for immediate responses to the issues related to social services including camp cleanness, and providing measures for prevention of the spread of infectious diseases. Women IDPs were also briefed on the procedures to follow up on their requests with related government institutions. Among those include the need to tutor girls that are not attending school, students dropping out of school, and the harassment of IDP girls on their way to and from school. This has led to a tension between the security personnel and the young men in the neighborhood, adding more pressure on displaced families and making them hesitate to send their girls to school. Many of the officials took the initiative to respond to these challenges.

Among the topics discussed with the Sadr City Municipal Council were the limitations facing the overall progress of implementing the National Action Plan and the failure to provide schooling and adequate services to displaced women and their families who are suffering as a result of conflict. Finally, government employees responsible for inheritance distribution require certain documentation from IDPs, however, some courts are not recognizing many of the documents issued by the city council.

The lack of stability for women in terms of housing, the overall failure to provide adequate services, and the spread of poverty and disease within those communities has been of extreme importance to IDPs. There was also an emphasis on providing job opportunities for the unemployed, especially for women.

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Activity 7

During this reporting period, four meetings were convened as a part of Activity 7, taking place in three provinces with one in Babil, one in Erbil, and two in Baghdad. These community meetings were to recognize the key priorities on GBV and the inclusion of women in peace-making initiatives, with a focus on issues included in the NAP, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and legal discrimination. Priorities were incorporated into the work carried out by the PTFs on the local level, and formed the agendas for their ongoing meetings in Activity 6, hearing sessions for Activity 8, and the small grants RFP for Activity 9.

PTFs used some of the community meetings as an opportunity to report back to the community on results of advocacy with local officials, assess outcomes, and mobilize community members for further advocacy and outreach to officials. Small grantees were able to use these meetings during their project implementation to publicize their successes and generate community support. The goal of the community meetings was to ensure Al-Rasid demonstrates a participatory approach throughout, providing local communities with a model of coordination and action to address the gendered nature of conflict.

These meetings were attended by 125 participants including 66 women and 59 men.

Erbil

In Erbil and Babil, IDPs discussed the deprivation of women of financial entitlements when they lose their husbands due to death or absence. Those IDPs also highlighted access to healthcare services as their top priority, and were successfully able to develop a referral process between the PTF and the Doctors Without Borders team through their meeting.

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Babil

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Baghdad

In Baghdad, access to proper healthcare was of the utmost concern, along with the abundance of diseases within the camp, absence of medical records for those with chronic diseases, and delayed shipments of medicine. On the legal side, multiple families did not receive payments from the Ministry of Planning amounting to 250,000 dinars, or the third round of payments from the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MODM). On the educational side, a severe shortage of teaching staff in middle schools located within the camp has also been reported. Further details on the meeting can be found in: http://www.umelyateem.org/ArticleShow.aspx?ID=31184

It was also widely reported that the cloth material that camp tents are made of is a bad insulator for both heat and cold, causing dramatic temperatures. In addition, bathrooms in the camp are outside the tents and become strenuous for women and children in the summer and winter. The central kitchen within the camp lacks many items which add another difficulty for women. On the issue of medical care, the health center inside the camp lacks sufficient medical staff because the former staff was originally displaced from Ramadi and have since returned there, causing the closure of the health center due to the failure by the Ministry to assign new cadre. On the legal aspect, many families require birth records for their children in order to be issued an identity card; however, this requires them to bring documents to areas such as Falluja, where they may encounter a difficult security and economic situation. It has also been reported that some of the women and families did not receive the million dinars, or the 250,000 dinars they are entitled to.

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Activity 8

During this reporting period, six meetings were convened with justice stakeholders as a part of Activity 8, taking place in three provinces, with two in Babil, one in Erbil, and three in Baghdad. Rasid worked with judiciary and members of Family Protection Units (FPUs) and other law enforcement officials to integrate women’s rights in the justice system, address and reduce violence against women (VAW) and end impunity for perpetrators. The overall aim is to enhance judicial responsiveness, access to justice, legal protection, and self-sustainability for GBV survivors.

Sympathetic religious and community leaders were also invited as key witnesses to demonstrate the effect of GBV on the community. IF made all efforts to ensure the participation of minority women as well as those with physical disabilities, and encourage their active participation in the hearing sessions.

Total attendance of the meetings was 143 participants (86 men, 57 women).

Baghdad

Hearings from IDPs addressed challenges being faced by many, including one GBV survivor who was rejected and expelled by her family after being captivated under Da’esh. Having been from a tribal family, they were fearful of the stigma and the rule of society. Many legal issues were also discussed, including the loss of personal documents and the remedy measures taken by the government which has added extra pressure on IDPs. Perhaps the most sensitive issue discussed were the Turkmen women prisoners of Da’esh. Ms. Chennai of the organization, Anqath Al-Turkmen (Save the Turkmen), summarized the situation as very grave and highlighted the horrific atrocities committed against Turkmen and Yazidis, and the vast amount of people from these communities still being held by Da’esh.

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Erbil

Legal challenges faced by IDPs – especially women- are of great concern, including the legislation of an emergency bill consisting of specific provisions for IDPs, and the lack of interest within the UN for enhancing legal capabilities due to their concentration on the humanitarian and political dimensions only. The issuing of special instructions from the judiciary council to address some of the legal issues of IDPs, finding a mechanism in order to coordinate within federal courts in Baghdad, and the need for training courses for lawyers and judges regarding global principles on the rights of IDPs was also highlighted. It was recommended that this training be provided preferably by UNHCR and/or IOM. IDPs also stressed the need to open a special documentation center as well.

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Babil

The Iraqi Bar Association was present to hear a host of issues that were addressed including paternity matters, establishing legislation to band child marriage, how the government should handle marriage outside of the courts, and working to strengthen legal deterrents of marriage outside courts. The meeting also dealt with measures on how women can report on incidents of violence, the need for more community outreach for families through meetings and workshops, increasing the role of community policing, increasing the role of family protection units within relevant state institutions and raising legal awareness among families.

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