This programme aims to contribute to structural changes in gender norms, laws and institutions and to promote equal rights and justice and reconciliation processes in Iraq.
‘Engendering the Transition to Peace and Security in Iraq’ is a programme developed by PAX, Impunity Watch , Iraqi Al Amal Association and its partners, funded in the framework of the Dutch National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It runs from November 2016 until December 2020.
This will contribute to enabling equal and meaningful participation in transformative peace building and social reconstruction. The programme specifically challenges the idea that Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is a private issue by linking it clearly to conflict patterns and histories that are markedly political. This leads to gender-sensitive and active women’s participation in security sector reform (SSR), as well as justice and reconciliation processes following the fight against ISIS in Iraq.
PAX and its partners in Iraq have been involved in improving women’s skills and developing approaches for women to monitor communities’ safety issues and influence (in)formal security processes and policies. Engendering the Transition to Peace and Security in Iraq builds on main outcomes and lessons learnt of these previous efforts. In cooperation with Utrecht University and Iraqi Al-Firdaws association (based in Basra), a series of interventions was carried out during the first year of the project: research and analytical capabilities of Iraqi academics and Iraqi civil society were developed with a particular focus on data collection and analysis of SGBV.
Furthermore, training strategies for police focus on the importance of gender-sensitive approaches to their work. At the same time, we are working on greater awareness among (Internally Displaced People) communities from different ethnic and religious groups on gender specific security needs and promote active engagement in security and justice discussions.
By combining all of these efforts with national and international advocacy, the programme endeavours to integrate gender-sensitive approaches across different levels of the security sector in Iraq.
In cooperation with Iraqi Al Amal Association, al-Firdaws Association and the Centre of Conflict studies at Utrecht University a network of Iraqi scholars were trained to carry out gender-sensitive research and conflict analysis. The network was mentored and supported while it carried out research projects on the ground in Kirkuk, Basra, Baghdad and Salah ad Din provinces. These case studies served as evidence in civil society campaigns that addressed harmful gender norms and SGBV related practices.
Dialogue and community sessions are organised by the Iraqi local partners, (IDP) women from the community and key actors from the police. These sessions aim to contribute to building relationships of trust and mutual understanding on entrenched gender norms and the importance of being gender-sensitive in police work. Also, they will enable women to bring in their perspectives and security needs.
In cooperation with Iraqi Al Amal Association a training for police staff on gender is being developed at the national level. In this participatory process the importance of serving all Iraqi citizens in their security needs and meaningful women’s participation in both sectors are being discussed. In the first phase a Training of Trainers is developed for 15 police trainers that train Iraqi police officers from all over the country.