WASHINGTON, DC • BRUSSELS • BAGHDAD
Since 2007, IILHR has collaboratively engaged with leaders of both Iraqi government, academia, and civil society to strengthen approaches to human rights and rule of law issues. Highlights of IILHR’s past programming, many of which IILHR continues to support, are below.
IILHR has conducted trainings with Iraqi parliamentarians and staff on the role of civil society and evidence-based law making, with a small group visiting the UK to meet with members of both the Scottish and UK parliaments. IILHR continues to work with civil society organizations and other committees on effectively integrating their advice and involvement.
In partnership with international and Iraqi civil society organizations and members of parliament, IILHR has worked to formulate and evaluate Iraqi legislative and advocacy options to support the legal status of women. In 2011, IILHR published a comprehensive review of Iraq’s legal framework and compliance with international gender standards, “Women and the Law in Iraq,” a reference work still used in Iraq today. It also worked to support the pilot program “Family Protection Units” at police stations in Baghdad. It continues to support the Women’s Committee and other committees on draft domestic violence legislation and other key women and children’s legislation under consideration. IILHR also has a strong dialogue with the Women’s Committee of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament and has provided testimony at committee meetings and legal analysis to combat gender-based violence and raise the status of women in Iraqi Kurdistan.
IILHR played a key role in establishing the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) by supporting the development of the enabling law and the selection of commissioners starting in 2008. In 2012, IILHR offered comparative analysis from more than 34 countries to refine IHCHR regulations and bylaws, and in 2014, IILHR conducted the first independent assessment of the IHCHR at the UN’s and EU’s request.
IILHR has been a strong voice of support for Iraqi components since 2007. With the United States Institute of Peace, starting in 2010, IILHR organized a legislative caucus of minority members of parliament to work collaboratively on legislative action, and we facilitated the establishment of the Alliance of Iraqi Minorities, dedicated to advocacy for minority rights issues in Iraq. In 2011, IILHR published an analysis of compliance of Iraqi laws on minorities with treaty commitments, constitutional guarantees, and international standards. A series of publications on minority rights followed: “Iraq’s Minorities and Other Vulnerable Groups: Legal Framework, Documentation and Human Rights” (2013); “Between the Millstones: The State of Iraqi Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul” (2015); “No Way Home: Iraq’s Minorities on the Verge of Disappearance” (2016); and “Crossroads: The Future of Iraq’s Minorities After ISIS” (2017). IILHR continues our close collaboration with Iraqi components and other vulnerable groups to this day.
Since 2007, IILHR has continued to provide comparative analysis and review of draft legislation for the Iraqi Council of Representatives. IILHR has produced more than 100 different legal memoranda and legal analysis on a wide range of topics for the Iraqi Parliament. In collaboration with a broad range of committees (e.g., Human Rights, Women’s Issues, Civil Society, Legal, Labor & Social Affairs, Migration and Displaced Persons, Public Works Committees, the Speaker’s Office), IILHR consults on variety of legislative matters in response to the direct request of members of parliament and committees, which serves as a core part of IILHR’s current work. Selected projects include a partnership with the UK NGO Ceasefire to develop Enforced Disappearances legislation and working with the International Committee of the Red Cross on missing persons legislation.
Passed 1 March 2021, this law is landmark legislation for Iraq that provides assistance to survivors of ISIS crimes. Collaborating with a broad coalition of Iraqi and international NGOs, IILHR worked with minority members of parliament, the Speakers Office, and three committees to secure passage. During the final weeks before adoption, IILHR broadened the scope and activities of the bill, including, for example, advocating for access not only for Yezidi survivors but also for other Iraqi components. IILHR continues to support implementation of the law, most recently organizing a meeting of more than 12 foreign embassies and the UN to organize external political and resource support in cooperation with the British Embassy in Baghdad in March 2022.
IILHR has worked with the Women’s Committee of the Kurdistan Parliament to pass revised violence against women legislation, providing a markup and analysis of the draft bill. IILHR testified at a Women’s Committee hearing on the draft legislation in February 2022. Meanwhile, IILHR made significant contributions to a wide variety of legislation, including on Kurdistan cultural heritage preservation, tourism, national archives, and disabilities.
IILHR partner PAX and its implementing partner worked with the Hamdaniyah Citizens Team to develop a set of recommendations and amendments to the current draft law being considered by the Council of Representatives Human Rights Committee. The team is currently working with Ninewa members of parliament and community groups to build support; these recommendations will be discussed by the committee in the next few months.
In response to a request from the Al Siyada coalition, in March 2022 IILHR deployed a dedicated legal team to assist party legal advisors and members of parliament on a set of priorities outlined by the coalition. IILHR’s team worked intensively over a two-week period to develop options on Martyrs Compensation, Enforced Disappearances, and Amnesty legislation. The coalition also expressed interest in provincial council legislation, war crimes prosecutions, and a missing persons institute. Work will continue to make sure Siyada, other blocs, and independent members of parliament can hit the ground running.
IILHR partner PAX and its implementing partner worked with the Mosul Citizens Team to develop recommendations and amendments to draft legislation, coordinating with Ninewa members of parliament, local officials and experts, and UN bodies focused on the effort. These recommendations will be presented to the Council of Representatives once parliamentary committees are constituted, and they will be part of a dialogue with the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances when it visits Iraq in Fall 2022.
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