Strengthening legal protection for civilians and promoting reparation for violations in Iraq
Iraq is at a critical juncture: looking towards possible reconciliation and democratization on the one hand, but with the risk of sectarianism, militarization and renewed destabilization on the other. Territories formerly held by ISIS have been recaptured, and notable progress has been made with IDP returns, a national reparations programme and also international moves towards limited accountability. However, this progress is fragile; over 1.5 million people remain displaced; basic services are failing across much of the country; and effective control in large parts of Iraqi territory is held by sectarian armed militias. In an attempt to stifle mass protests across central and southern Iraq, over 500 protestors have been killed and thousands detained.
This project seeks to realise civilian rights in Iraq through an integrated programme of civil society support for monitoring and documenting violations, legal assistance for reparation claims, technical support for legislative enactment of international human rights obligations, and associated research and advocacy at the national and international level. Working with civil society actors and parliamentarians to empower vulnerable civilians to claim their rights, the project contributes to civilian protection, accountability and reconciliation as Iraq seeks to emerge from conflict.The project’s non-sectarian approach to civilian protection and reparation is designed to be a key contribution to stabilization at this complex and dangerous moment for Iraqi democracy.
Project activities include the provision of secure internet resources and trainings for civilian activists to improve monitoring and documentation of violations; small grants for civil society initiatives to promote rights awareness and participation in reconciliation processes; legal support and representation for victims of violations to enable them to access national and provincial reparations programmes and submit claims; technical support to the Iraqi Parliament on the drafting of new legislation on enforced disappearances, reparations and anti-discrimination; the publication of periodic bulletins on key issues for civilian rights and reparations; and international advocacy, including at the UN, to promote implementation of Iraq’s human rights commitments and build national and international support for a strengthened reparations programme in the post-ISIS period.
Partners on this project include:
Asuda is a leading Iraqi women’s NGO and is supported by the UN Trust Fund to end violence against women, as well as other international donors. Asuda has more than 15 years’ experience providing protection, counselling and legal aid to women fleeing gender-based violence; raising awareness among authorities, the police, and the wider community about violence against women, lobbying for the development of legal standards to protect women; and coordinating research and monitoring human rights violations.
The Institute for International Law and Human Rights, based in Baghdad and Washington DC, was established in 2007 to provide legislative support for Iraqi Constitutional and judicial development. IILHR enjoys longstanding relationships within the Federal Supreme Court, the State Shura Doula, and law faculties, and has supported the activities of Parliamentary Committees on dozens of bills, including adopted legislation, such as the Human Rights Commission Law, Social Safety Net legislation, the Higher Judicial Council Law, and Martyrs Compensation Law.
This programme is supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.