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.

Shahrazad Center Concludes the Second Workshop on the Protection of Women Journalists and Women Human Right Defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq

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Shahrazad Center – Baghdad

On the 14th of July, Shahrazad center concluded in the headquarter of the Iraqi Women Journalist Forum (IWJF) its second workshop on the protection and personal safety of women journalists and women human right defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq, with the participation of 18 female trainees from all over Iraq.

The workshop, that have been held within the framework of Shahrazad project that aims in the protection of women  human rights defenders in collaboration with the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) and the Italian organization Un Ponte Per… (UPP), and was funded by the Human Rights program of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Iraq and the Swiss Fondation Assistance Internationale, have addressed in its first day the concepts and legal frameworks within the work of women human rights defenders through the session that was represented by Mr. Dhiyaa Alsarrai, the Communication and Information Program Specialist at the UNESCO office in Iraq. The trainer dealt with the terms and implications of human rights defenders in general, and discussed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Defenders and its relationship to the international human rights system, the session also addressed the main risks facing WHRDs during their work. Afterwards, the trainer continued in explaining the legal guaranties for WHRDs internationally, and the main protection means in the Iraqi laws.

Despite all the difficulties and the blockage of streets in the capital of Baghdad which faced the workshop at its first and third days, that accompanied a parade of the Iraqi security forces in the streets of Baghdad, and continued till the mid of the day. However, it did not stop 18 female defenders to challenging the security situation and attend the workshop from different cities of Iraq.

The second day of the workshop covered the Social Media topic and the professional work requirements for WHRDs through social networking sites, this session was given by Mr. Emad Alsharaa from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), in which he talked about the theoretical and practical means accompanied by some exercises and examples about social media, this session was followed by another discussion and presentation about the risks that WHRDs exposed to and the most important means of protection for WHRDs on the Internet  which was given by the trainer Mr. Noor Talib form the Iraqi Network for Social Media (INSM).

The third day of the workshop was concluded by theoretical and practical training by Mr. Dhiyaa Alsarrai about the personal safety in the press professional work for WHRDs working in conflict zones, accompanied by a definition of the role of Shahrazad Legal Clinic in the protection of WHRDs and women journalists in Iraq presented by lawyer Mrs. Rajaa Abd Ali, the responsible of the legal clinic in Shahrazad services center. At the end of the workshop, Shahrazad project team handed participation certificates to all the participants of the workshop and thanked them for joining the training.

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What made the second workshop special was the qualified trainees who participated and enriched the workshop because of their seriousness and professionalism, as well as their ability to pursue and lead advocacy campaigns which was clear through their interactions during the workshop. The feedback of the trainees have also showed that they got all the necessary information perfectly from the professional trainers of the workshop.



Shahrazad hosted by the German Embassy in Baghdad

As a part of a welcoming and pride initiative for the distinct work achieved so far within Shahrazad project and the Iraqi Women Journalists Forum, the German Embassy invited all the team of Shahrazad Center and the IWJF with a number of the trainers and trainees who were so active during the past two workshops, to the German Ambassador farewell ceremony that was held in Baghdad on the 16th of July. During the meeting, they discussed the achievements of the team of Shahrazad project, as well as the distinct work of the legal clinic inside the center, the team also addressed the challenges and obstacles regarding the current security situation faced the team during their work in Baghdad.

The meeting permeated some music of the Maestro Karim Wasfi, with the presence of a number of media and civil Iraqi figures. The German Ambassador, Mr. Eckhard Proza presented his farewell speech praising the work of the project and the support the project provides for the defense of human rights in Iraq, describing the women who worked within the project as the brave women of Iraq, he also expressed the mission pride to work with such a team.

From his side, Shahrazad team thanked the embassy for their support in implementing this project, and for their interest and seriousness in  consolidating the principles of human rights in Iraq.

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It is worth mentioning that Shahrazad project is concerned with two aspects, the first is the the empowerment and building the capacities of  women journalists and WHRDs from all over Iraq, and influencing the Iraqi legislations in the protection of WHRDs in their different fields of work, the second aspect is providing free legal and consulting services through the legal clinic inside the headquarter of the Iraqi Women Journalist Forum.