Iraq is the first country in the Middle-East to establish a national plan as a result of UN resolution 1325 (about women, peace and security). However, organizations such as Al Firdaws in Basra and Al-Amal in Kirkuk started their own initiatives, because they were frustrated that not much was done in practice. In cooperation with local and national organizations that deal with safety, they made their own action plans. For example, programmes were started in Basra to tackle violence against women, with a special focus on the large numbers of displaced persons that are staying there in refugee camps. Because of this situation many female police officers are needed who can work in the camps and register women’s complaints. Moreover, there is a great need to create more awareness among security services and the police about women's rights.
PAX works together with Al-Firdaws and Al-Amal in Iraq. In the Middle East it is still not customary that women play a role in public life, let alone that they can discuss and decide about ‘typical male’ issues such as conflict and security. PAX supports women in raising their voice. At the same time we are working on greater awareness among the police, religious leaders and politicians about gender subjects and the essential role played by women in attaining greater safety. Around Basra a large number of men are absent because they are fighting against ISIS in the Iraqi army or with militias. Al-Firdaws makes use of this situation and organizes meetings with women's groups, so that they can play a greater role in their own safety.
PAX’s activities in Iraq fall under the topic Gender, Peace and Security. Other programmes within the same topic include:
In South Sudan, peace organisation PAX works with several organisations to strengthen women's leadership skills and to raise their participation in political decision-making and in handling security issues. This programme's long-term objective is to make women's lives safer and to increase their influence on political decision-making.
The PAX programme in Iraq aims to address root causes and patterns of conflict, with a particular focus on the lack of inclusive governance, the lack of inclusive transitional justice and the lack of inclusive human security. Cooperating closely with local civil society and peace-activists, PAX implements projects that seek to build trust between and within communities, facilitate dialogue between policy makers and citizens, promote inclusive citizenship, and enhance gender-sensitivity in the security sector.
In Iraq, peace organisation PAX gave special attention to women in an effort to increase community security. Through this programme, we worked with local partners on several projects. Our objective was to enable women to help organize their own and others’ safety. This programme took place from October 2013 until December 2016.
Women led local dialogue groups, known as peace tables, in Bentiu work together and facilitate dialogues to bring the Nuer community together and improve relations between those living in the Protection of Civilians site and those living in town.