Baghdad. July 7, 2022 – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) hosted on June 29, 2022 its first National Conference on the Protection of Civilians in Iraq under the theme Steps Forward and Challenges: Five Years After the Liberation of Mosul.
Held in Baghdad, the one-day event sponsored by H.E. Qassim AlAraji, Iraq National Security Adviser, and in partnership with Al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies, brought together a broad range of partners, including local and international governments, civilian society organizations, UN members and actors in the security sector reform.
“This conference offers a space for reflection on the joint successes to protect civilians five years after the liberation of Mosul. It is also a timely opportunity to discuss ongoing challenges for governments, security actors, and the international community in improving outcomes related to the protection of civilians,” said Marta Martinelli, CIVIC’s Senior Director of Programs in its opening remarks
Since the liberation of Mosul in July 2017, military operations to eliminate the threat of the Islamic State and prevent its re-emergence are still taking place. Military actions have had a devastating toll on civilians’ lives, impacting their livelihood and psychological well-being. Access to education and to basic services has also been severely hampered.
Two panel discussions were held during the conference. The first panel focused on law, policies, practices, and training of military and security forces on the protection of civilians. Panelists also reflected on how national forces can be better supported by the international community in their efforts to protect civilians. The panel included representatives from the Iraqi Office of National Security Advisor, the Joint Operations Command, the Counter Terrorism Service, the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM), and the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI). The second panel explored the challenges civilians face as they have yet to recover from the anti-ISIS campaign and their concerns about protection. Panelists also highlighted effective approaches used by communities to protect themselves from armed violence, including through dialogues between security forces and communities. The panel included the Governor of Nineveh, Mr. Najim alJoubori, and representatives of community protection groups from Mosul, Sinjar, Hawija and Kirkuk.
The conference concluded with outcomes highlighting the importance of CIVIC’s trainings to military and security forces on the protection of civilians as well as support to civilian communities. H.E. Qassim AlAraji stated that “Iraq is welcoming and is cooperating with all international organizations because the Iraqi government is keen on protecting civilians at all times.”
The conference was funded by the German Government.
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the protection of civilians in conflict. CIVIC envisions a world in which no civilian is harmed in conflict. Our mission is to support communities affected by conflict in their quest for protection and strengthen the resolve and capacity of armed actors to prevent and respond to civilian harm. CIVIC was established in 2003 by Marla Ruzicka, a young humanitarian who advocated on behalf of civilians affected by the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, CIVIC has a presence in conflict zones and key capitals throughout the world.
In Iraq, CIVIC focuses its work on four areas: advocacy, community-based protection, trainings, and research. We collaborate with civilian leaders, security actors, and government ministries to improve protection outcomes and enhance trust between civilians and security actors throughout the country.
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