Building Capacity for Women Participation and Protection in Iraq

Written by: Timothy Rodriguez

In Iraq, militarized conflict over the last decade has eroded human security and rights with particular impact on women. As part of WILPF's MENA1325 project, WILPF has worked since early 2011 with the 1325 Group to mobilize and build the capacity of women to participate in peace and challenge militarised security frameworks.

The 1325 Group was founded by nine Iraqi organizations in 2011 to achieve wider participation of women in the peace-building process and ensure the protection of women and girls during and after the armed conflict. In early collaborations, WILPF provided the Network with technical support and provided support for meetings around the country. These actions paid off in early 2014, when Iraqi women rights movements won a major victory for women, peace and security as Iraq became the first country in the Middle East to adopt a National Action Plan to implement UNSCR1325.

This year, WILPF will continue our collaborations by training personnel to disseminate the 1325 resolution in Iraq; building capacity of member organisations to monitor, evaluate and report on the implementation of the National Action Plan for Iraq; and increasing involvement with the newly-elected parliament members, particularly women, to put international obligations on Women, Peace and Security into practice.

As the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated quickly over the past month, our work strengthening grassroots women's peace activists work challenging militarism and violence becomes even more critical. We call on the international community, international organizations and the Iraqi state to hold to their responsibility to protect civilians and ensure the inclusion of the participation and rights of women including women-led civil society in peace-keeping processes.