On 15 July 2019, a group of young activists from local forums working within the space of the Iraqi Social Forum and the Kurdistan Social Forum came together in Erbil for a training of trainers ToT, entitled “The Right to Work and Social Security.” It was organized by the ISF’s Economic and Social Rights masar (path). It was set as a start point to spread awareness of the laborers right all across Iraq.
The training targeted twelve cities, including Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, Hit, Salah Aldin, Diyala, Maysan, Nasiriyah, Najaf, Diwaniya, Dohuk, and Sulaymaniyah. The training involved 22 activists, 10 women and 12 men, where at least one or two activists from each city participated.
The training was designed to suit the capacity and needs of the local activists who participated, enabling them to work on the specific issues most urgent within their own communities. The young activists learned to adapt the general principles and strategies presented in such a way that useful knowledge could be passed on to their colleagues at home. By the end of the training, participants had clear ideas about how to support economic and social rights in their respective cities.
To begin, the organizers gave a brief definition of economic, social, and cultural rights. They began with an explanation of the 2nd International Letter of Agreement and the International Labor Organization, and moved on to a wider discussion of international labor standards, and an overview of economic and social rights. They also discussed the basic principles in Iraqi Law No. 37 of 2015, which is the law most directly concerned with these issues.
The session explored the most crucial legal protections workers are entitled to: the protection of working women, the prevention of child labor, the protection of wages (ensuring workers are paid and establishing a minimum wage), occupational safety and health, the regulation of work and vacation times, employment contracts and discrimination in employment, occupation and forced labor, and also laborers’ social security and pension.
During the sessions, participants looks at the pros and cons of the various protections and considered how best to realize each one given the specific circumstances, available possibilities and target groups in particular cities.
At the end of the training, participants from different cities planned to conduct similar awareness pieces of training in their local forums and invite activists and interested people from their cities to participate in the training. As well as building awareness campaigns in these cities, where it then launched one of those campaigns, entitled “Know your rights” to raise awareness for young people who are working in the province of Nasiriyah. As well as awareness training for workers of the Iraqi Society of Engineers to make them aware of their rights as well.
The Economic and Social Rights masar has organized many activities on a range of issues that are of concern to workers and has developed a number of specialized teams to address the different needs in different cities throughout Iraq. This training is part of its annual plan, which is implemented in cooperation with the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative and the Italian organization Un Ponte Per… within the space of the Iraqi Social Forum. It also receives support from the European Union.
Iraqi Social Forum