Iraq en route to address gap in security cooperation and oversight following UNDP supported workshop in TunisMay 10, 2017
Tunis- Informed by the on-going security sector reform (SSR) efforts of the Government of Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a workshop for the Security and Defence Committee of the Council of Representatives (CoR) and relevant ministries and agencies on the role they can play in democratic oversight of the security sector. The workshop took place on 30 April - 03 May 2017 in Tunis, Tunisia. It focused on developing a set of by-laws to better position the Security and Defence Committee to play an active role in this sphere, as well as to improve collaboration between the legislative and the executive authorities in security sector oversight.
In addition to members of the Committee, senior government officials representing the Ministry of Interior (MoI), High Judicial Council, and the Office of the Prime Minister participated in the workshop. Parliamentarians from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Mosul and Kirkuk were also amongst participants.
Senior Deputy Minister of MoI, Dr. Aqeel al-Khazaali, and CoR member and Deputy Head of the Security and Defence Committee, Mr. Naieef al-Shimmery, led the Government delegation. “Any efforts and assistance contributing to our democratic experiment, and rooting human rights are regarded as essential for the benefit of our people,” said Dr. al-Khazaali. “I salute the important initiative undertaken by the Security and Defence Committee to establish a security cooperation partnership with the executive. We must make sure this partnership is sustained. We extend our thanks to UNDP for its on-going support to the SSR efforts of the Government.”
Expressing gratitude to UNDP’s role, Mr. al-Shimmery added: “We reaffirm the willingness of the Security and Defence Committee to develop the by-laws in a manner that supports effective oversight and enhances its ability to work with the executive through an effective security partnership. This will contribute significantly to Iraq's security sector reform efforts.”
The workshop concluded with consensus amongst all participants to develop a Cooperation Framework on Security Partnership between the legislature and the executive, as well as to finalize the proposed by-laws. Both of these mechanisms address a pressing gap in Iraq - lack of coherent approach between the legislature and the executive in security cooperation and oversight.
“What was achieved during this workshop is truly remarkable for security sector reform in Iraq. We thank all participants for their commitment and efforts in this long-term reform process,” said UNDP’s Rule of Law Programme Manager, Ms. Chamila Hemmathagama.
Following the workshop, on 10 May 2017, the Security and Defence Committee voted to proceed with both initiatives. In close collaboration with the executive, including the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Committee will now lead the development of the proposed Cooperation Framework on Security Partnership and the by-laws.
UNDP assists the Government of Iraq on SSR through a partnership with ONSA, and supports the civilian oversight of this process - one of the priority reform areas identified by the Government within its broader efforts to reform Iraq’s security sector.
Chamila Hemmathagama, Programme Manager, Rule of Law, (m) +964 751 184 3529
Ammar Altaie, Project Coordinator, Rule of Law, (m) +964 790 116 5748