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Case 6: Local action in Iraq Gender, Peace and Security

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: