Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) is dedicated to bringing together Iraqi and international civil societies through concrete actions to build together another Iraq, with peace and Human Rights for all.

A Nother Iraq is Possible … Iraq of Peace, Human Rights and Social Justice

The Iraqi Social Forum prospects and challenges

Towards the establishment of the Iraqi Social Forum

A working paper submitted by the preparatory committee of the Iraqi Social Forum with the contribution of the Iraqi delegation in the works of the World Social Forum in Tunisia

For the period 26 – 30 March, 2013

Iraqis are a key part of the Global Humanitarian Movements:

Iraqis are very active participants in the global social movements, they are part of the movements that worked for the rights and freedoms of human being and his dignity and made it as a centerpiece of its activity, Iraqi joined world peace movements, and the labor and union movement, and attract solidarity activity, and fought against racism and chauvinism and fascism, also denounced war and war conviction, and agonist aggression, colonialism and occupation, and supported the liberation movements. So their rush to participate in the global movement against globalization savage came naturally and in corresponding with their life lovers peers, based to globalization of cooperation and solidarity against poverty and destitution, disease and desertification. In this sense came their follow up for the World Social Forum since its inception.

Dealing with the Forum from individual initiatives to organized effort:

The Dictatorship obnoxious, which perch on the Iraqi people souls before April 2003, prevent moving and civic activity, but it didn’t preclude contribution of Iraqis living outside Iraq to follow the activities of the World Social Forum, and participate in some of its activities, but those contributions have taken the individual parts, because of their presence in many countries, making coordination between them difficult and perhaps impossible.

With the expansion of the civil society movement after the change, and the multiplicity of civic activities, and the relative openness of Iraq to the outside world, a few activists civilians was interested in activities of the World Social Forum, and helped in the development of this interest their partners in civic organizations foreign and especially including those involved in the Forum’s activities, but the efforts and activities remained scattered, separate and non-unified.

Formation of a coordination committee and the beginning of organized work toward an Iraqi Social Forum:

Meetings that took place between a number of civilians activists on the sidelines activity of non-violence in Erbil on 17.10.2011, can be considered as the serious beginning to coordinate the efforts of the workers toward an Iraqi Social Forum to become a place and space for the civil and democratic forces which believes in social justice and adopt the Charter of the World Social Forum “Porto Alegre Charter”. Which clarify that there were organizations interested in this activity, as well as civilian figures that individually was active in this aspect which has invested their relations in the coordination and standardization efforts.

The rapid meeting which has been held in Erbil on the sidelines of the activity of non-violence conference, and the decision that has been taken for the formation of a coordinating committee of a number of colleagues, is the starting point for the organized Iraqi effort. As agreed on calling it as a Coordination Committee and keep the door open to all activists who wish to work in this context. The work of the Coordinating Committee has been organized through weekly meetings, via Skype, and come to the drafting of the Charter of the Iraqi Social Forum adopting the slogan ”A new Iraq is possible … Iraq of peace, human rights and social justice” . This Charter considered the intellectual and political guide and systematic move in spreading the idea of the Iraqi Social Forum, in any forum, meeting or activity, attend by one of the members of the Coordinating Committee, or any other activity of civilians who have expertise and interest in the forum.

Iraqis are observer members in the meeting of the International Committee of the World Social Forum in Bangladesh:

An Iraqi delegation composed of 8 figures contributed as an observer in a meeting of the International Committee (IC), which included an Iraqi delegation figures and social forces such as representatives of: The Association of technical engineering professions – Sector of Southern Electricity, Al-Mesalla Center for Human Resources Development, The Iraqi Women Network, Information Center for Research and Development, Basra Civil Forum, Iraqi Center for Research and Studies, Tammuz Organization for Social Development as well as The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative.

– Iraqi delegation participated with the grand opening marathon of the Southern Asia Forum where more than 20 thousand people participated, and during the opening session of the Forum our colleague Ali Dujaili – Tammuz organization made a speech on behalf of the Iraqi delegation, where he welcomed the participants and the audience and called on the people of Bengal to the solidarity among themselves to face challenges and achieve the objectives of the Forum “Another South of Asia is Possible”, also he called on people to solidarity among them and achieve the goals of the World Social Forum, “Another World is Possible”.

– Our colleague Ismail Dawood  made his speech in the closing session, on behalf of the Iraqi delegation, where he presented an invitation to the participants of the Southern Asia – Bangladesh Forum to attend the work of the Iraqi Social Forum which to be held at the end of 2013 in Baghdad.

– The Iraqi delegation participated in many activities, where our colleague Jassim Al-Hilfi talked in the seminar of Iraq about politics and touch the regional and global situation, also our colleague Ali Dujaili talked about the role of civil society organizations in Iraq in reforms and the requirements of the next phase, as Mr. Abdullah Khalid talked about the role of the Iraqi civil Society Solidarity Initiative with supporting the establishment of the Iraqi Social Forum, and Mr. Abbas Kadhim talked about Iraqi unions and their future challenges, and Ms. Shatha Naji talked about the status of women and the role of women’s organizations in facing challenges.

– The Iraqi delegation attendance at the meeting of the International Committee of the World Social Forum in Bangladesh has been approved and his participation as an observer, and his attendance had a big impact in drawing attention to Iraq again, and the role that the Iraqi social movements can play in establishing the Iraqi Social Forum which to be taking place in 2013 in Baghdad with an extensive international contribution.

Preparatory activities for the establishment of the Iraqi Social Forum:

Preparations efforts for the establishment and definition of the Iraqi Social Forum continued, and the investment of the civic activities, public events and meetings has been done, and the Committee was able to achieve the following:

– The Coordinating Committee of the Forum represented by our colleague Vian Contributed in the activity of the democratic movement in 21/01/2012, and called through her speech the efforts aimed on unifying the social movement in Iraq, in order to reduce the manifestations of poverty and destitution and desertification, and to work for equality, human rights and social justice.

– Prepare a short guide about the Iraqi Social Forum principles and goals.

– Active participation in the non-violence conference in Basra during the period 20-22/10/2012.

– At the non-violence conference in Basra, our colleagues Jassim Al-Hilfi and Abdullah Khalid talked about the World Social Forum and the preparations for the establishment of the Iraqi Social Forum.

– At the non-violence conference in Basra, our colleague Vian Sheikh Ali made a speech where she reviewed the civic activities aimed for solidarity and she called on for taking action in order to unify the efforts to be framed within the Iraqi Social Forum.

– The organization of a number of preparation races for the International Marathon in Baghdad, one on 24/10/2012 at the University of Baghdad, and on 13/12/2012 for the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Physical Education College for Girls, and another race on 11/03/2013 at the Physical Education College/ Baghdad University.

– The employment of a coordinator for the follow-up of the Iraqi Forum works has been done at the meeting held at the headquarters of Women for Peace Association in Baghdad.

Work Prospects:

Continue efforts to establish an Iraqi Social Forum led by social movements and effective civilian in Iraq. The forum is an open space that combines movements and networks operating in Iraq, which has a clear opinion on social and humanitarian issues and biased in its defense of human rights and freedoms and dignity, and control against Trinity underdevelopment “poverty, illiteracy and disease”.

We Are a Part of Solidarity World:

We go forward to establish a direct relationships with the social movements in the world, and of which within the World Social Forum, and we look forward for their support to drop the isolation that persist because of the absence of the social movements and Iraqi civil society roles in light of distractions happening on the political front in Iraq, and the absence happening at the community work side on a regional and global scale. And that this absence must come to an end and the social movements and Iraqi civil society in Iraq must take the lead by unifying efforts within the framework of the struggle of peoples in order to achieve freedom, independence and social justice.