Civilian-led monitoring in Iraq

Protecting the rights of vulnerable civilians in Iraq

Civilians in Iraq are subject to mass violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. With over 3.5 million people displaced from their homes, and the security situation preventing access to large parts of the country, there is an urgent need for better information on what is happening to civilians on the ground in order to provide redress.

Ceasefire is working with Minority Rights Group International on a multi-year programme supported by the European Union to implement a system of civilian-led monitoring of human rights abuses in Iraq, focusing in particular on the rights of vulnerable civilians including vulnerable women, internally-displaced persons (IDPs), stateless persons, and ethnic or religious minorities, and to assess the feasibility of extending civilian-led monitoring to other country situations.

The project seeks to empower civilian activists in Iraq and establish the systems to support them. The project uses cross-fertilization from established Iraqi NGOs, accessible and secure reporting formats and systems, and skills transfer to smaller NGOs and individual activists, to build in-country capacity to undertake credible monitoring of abuses and related advocacy. A ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ has been agreed with Essex University (Department of Computer Engineering), with funding through Innovate UK, to develop the technological infrastructure to support civilian-led monitoring, including dual Arabic/English language reporting in a range of media, as well as techniques for social media data mining.

The results are then brought before a global audience.

Reports produced under the project include:

  • Iraq’s Displacement Crisis: security and protection (English/Arabic)
  • No Way Home: Iraq’s minorities on the verge of disappearance (English)
  • No Place to Turn: Violence against women in the Iraq conflict (English/Arabic)
  • Civilian deaths in the anti-ISIS bombing campaigns 2014-2015 (English/Arabic)
  • The Lost Women of Iraq: Family-based violence during armed conflict (English/Arabic)
  • Thousands of civilians now at risk in Mosul assault – new report (English/Arabic)
  • Reparations for the victims of conflict in Iraq: Lessons learned from comparative practice – new report (English / Arabic)

Programme partners

Asuda – Combating Violence against Women

In 2000 Asuda opened the first women’s shelter in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Asuda means ‘providing comfort’. Since then the organisation provides protection to women who are threatened by violence, including honour killings. Its objectives include eradicating discrimination and all forms of violence against women; promoting women’s rights and influencing public opinion in favour of women’s rights; promoting awareness of the negative consequences of violence against women; and lobbying to amend relevant laws that encourage violence against women and abuse of women’s rights.

Hammurabi Human Rights Organization

The Hammurabi Human Rights Organization is a registered Iraqi NGO which takes its name from the Code of Hammurabi, the first code of laws in history which originated in Iraq. Based in Baghdad with branches throughout Iraq it is a non-profit, non-sectarian and non-political human rights and humanitarian relief organization. Its main work consists of researching, finding and assisting with the promotion of human rights in Iraq and in direct assistance to those who have suffered as a result of human rights violations.

The project also works with the Iraqi Minorities Council (IMC), a registered umbrella body of civil society organizations representing the various minorities of Iraq.

UNHCR-Iraq, the UN Refugee Agency, is an associate partner on the programme.



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SianCivilian-led monitoring in Iraq