Women to play a key role in achieving community reconciliation in Diyala

Oct 22, 2017

“Reconciliation cannot be achieved without the active participation of women, not only in Diyala but in all other governorates,” stressed the Director General of Women Empowerment at COMSEC, Ms. Ibtisam Aziz. Photo: Israa Mansour/UNDP Iraq/2017

Baghdad- On 22 October 2017 in Baghdad, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a workshop, to discuss the role of women in community reconciliation in the Governorate of Diyala. The Implementation and Follow-Up National Reconciliation Committee (IFNRC) and UNDP’s Support for Integrated Reconciliation in Iraq (SIRI) project jointly facilitated the workshop, with the generous support from the United Kingdom.

Participating in the workshop were female representatives of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Provincial Council of Diyala, the Council of Ministers Secretariat (COMSEC) and Al-Nahrain University, and other officials.  They brainstormed regarding obstacles to community reconciliation and possible initiatives to advance the cause, noting the particular challenges women are facing, as well as the strengths they can bring to a reconciliation process.

“Reconciliation cannot be achieved without the active participation of women, not only in Diyala but in all other governorates,” stressed the Director General of Women Empowerment at COMSEC, Ms. Ibtisam Aziz.

Head of Vocational Training at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ms. Rafal Hashim, concurred, saying: “Although Diyala has a culture of diversity, men are still controlling most sectors. We must give the women of Diyala the chance to take leading positions so they can play their role in reconciliation.”

In turn, Director General of NGOs Directorate of COMSEC, Mr. Mohammed Altamimi, said: “Diyala is in a critical need for community reconciliation as it was the first Iraqi governorate to suffer from terrorism.” He added: “We will work with NGOs in Diyala to support reconciliation. Law enforcement is not hard to achieve, but bringing peace to affected areas is a sensitive matter that requires collaboration of all parties. Of course, women have a key role to play.”

IFNRC representative in Diyala, Mr. Saad Challoub, said: “We need to establish a specialized team of women to work with both the government and NGOs in support of reconciliation in the Governorate.”

Participants agreed to strengthen their collaboration within Diyala as well as coordination with the Gender Unit of the IFNRC in Baghdad. Follow up meetings will be held in November and December 2017.

UNDP’s Chief Technical Adviser on Reconciliation, Dr. Fanie Du Toit, said: “This initiative is a promising start to improve the role of women in community reconciliation in Iraq. We will work with our partners to promote similar initiatives in other governorates.”

Under the leadership of the IFNRC of the Office of Iraq’s Prime Minister, UNDP is working on multiple initiatives in support of community reconciliation, with a focus on liberated areas. This includes assisting local peace committees and helping communities collect information on atrocities and violations committed against citizens during the conflict.

 

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