Press Statement – for immediate release (October 26 2014)
For three days in the Norwegian city of Oslo, Iraqi and international activists will meet to build solidarity with civil society in Iraq, as they take part in the 2014 Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) conference from October 27-29. On the agenda are the challenges currently faced by civil society in Iraq. Participants will discuss how Iraqi civil society can respond to the current crisis, and how Iraqi society can address the root causes of extremism that caused the crisis, through political and social reform. Central themes are the promotion of dialogue among all members of Iraqi society, and how to pressure the Iraqi government to reject war and to support reconciliation. International delegates will debate on how to support Iraqi civil society’s efforts, to rebuild a stable political system in which all citizens can participate, without discrimination or bias. Conference meetings and workshops will focus on the current crisis, ICSSI’S civil society campaigns in Iraq, and the role of NGO’s.
A delegation of 15 Iraqi civil society activists from various civil society organizations in Iraq will take part in the meetings and workshops in the Oslo conference. International activists from around the world, the North as well at the South, will be attending. The Iraqi delegation that will travel to Oslo was organized by the Iraqi Social Forum (ISF). In September 2013, Iraqi civil society movements joined forces within the ISF to propose alternatives to war and violence, visions for a sustainable peace, and the reconstruction of their country. More than 3000 Iraqi participants, primarily youth, human rights activists, women activists and trade unionists, along with an international solidarity delegation, participated in three days of activities organized by the ISF in Baghdad. The ISF featured civil society campaigns to promote human rights and social justice. Now a delegation of these Iraqi activists will be present in Oslo.
The conference takes place in the hall of St. Olav Church. It will start with a social event in the evening of October 27, during which Iraqi civil society will be able to connect with the Iraqi community in Norway, as well as with Norwegian civil society and NGO’s. The next two days will feature sessions and workshops on ICSSI’s campaigns, in which Iraqi civil society is actively involved. The Iraqi delegation will outline its major campaigns which are supported by ICSSI: Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes, Freedom of Expression, Workers’ Rights, Women’s Rights, Sports Against Violence, Stop Private Military and Security Companies. The afternoon of October 29 will feature sessions on ICSSI’s internal structure, as well as a session on the future course of the Iraqi Social Forum.
Geneva and Brussels sessions
The ICSSI conference is followed by the Globalization Conference of the Norwegian Social Forum, from 30 October-2 November, during which the Iraqi Social Forum will conduct a session. The Globalization conference is followed on November 3 in Geneva, Switzerland, by the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) a formal review of Iraq’s human rights obligations by the UN Human Rights Council. A delegation of Iraqi civil society will be attending the review on November 3. A session will be held by ICSSI in the Palais des Nations, from 10-12 a.m.. Next, an Iraqi delegation of ICSSI will have a meeting with European Members of Parliament in Brussels on November 5, in the Paul-Henri Spaak Building from 3-5 p.m. Find the programs of the sessions in Geneva and Brussels below.
For more information about the ICSSI 2014 Oslo Conference, please contact:
Toon Bijnens +47 451 02 574 / Johanna L. Rivera +47 925 08 900
For more information about the Geneva and Brussels sessions, please contact:
Florent Schaeffer +39 388 992 44 63 / Ismaeel Dawood +39 329 134 51 17