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We are calling for iraqi and international participants to attend the annual conference of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, on Wednesday, the 18th of January 2017, in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region, IRAQ.
Iraqi and international members of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative have been working over the last months – in partnership with the Iraqi Social Forum and the founding group of the new Kurdistan Social Forum – to organize an international conference focused on Iraqi and particularly Kurdish civil society resistance to injustice. This effort follows an impressive wave of nonviolent protests, in Baghdad and Sulaymaniyah, against the corruption and extremism that have paralyzed Iraqi society, depriving people of security and the basic necessities of daily life. Protesters are demanding the creation of a civil and democratic state that guarantees the involvement of local communities in ensuring security, a political system based on equal citizenship for all, and public policies which promote employment and secure provision of essential services. Meanwhile the military offensive against Daesh is producing thousands of victims and wounded among members of security forces and civilians, a worsening humanitarian crisis and a political crisis, while very few resources are being invested in peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
The conference will address many urgent issues all linked to the core question: “What forms of solidarity are needed today to support Iraqi civil society activists in their nonviolent struggle against injustice and extremism?” We will examine the specific needs of trade unions defending social-economic rights; those working to promote access to water and environmental rights; and those defending freedom of expression. Important themes we will explore include: promoting dialogue, reconciliation and peacebuilding; the issues confronting returning refugees and IDPs; and how Iraqis envision rebuilding cities and society after Daesh. We will learn about Iraqis’ and particularly Kurdish commitment to nonviolence in their public protests; women’s participation and gender equality; youth activism; and how sports and arts can be used in the struggle against violence.
We are issuing an urgent call for activists from around the world to come to Sulaymaniyah to learn from Iraqis about the current situation in the country. International participants need to understand how to support Iraqis’ activism and work in solidarity for a peaceful and just resolution of the on-going crisis. All international organizations and activists who stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people, and want to understand their reality from the point of view of local civil society, are invited to participate.
The principles of the conference have been set by the Iraqi and International organizers, and should be respected by all participants: there will be no discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion or gender; participation will be independent of political parties and religious or sectarian affiliation; we support nonviolent struggle as the only means of change; we are committed to the fundamental importance of voluntarism and non-profit ethics; we advocate for an active, dynamic civil society to build a democratic Iraq, free from extremism and corruption.
A draft program is available here. The final program will be published and disseminated by ICSSI in early January 2017.
If you would like to participate, please click here to register within the 10th of January 2017.
The ICSSI Conference 2017 is supported by:
Fondation Assistance Internationale, Karibu Foundation, and CCFD-Terre Solidaire