Windows of Opportunity for Meaningful Engagement of Iraqi Civil Society in Transitional & Restorative Justice Processes

A crucial element in building peace is the continued promotion of inclusive and participatory actions on the grassroots level and beyond.

From October 2021 through August 2022 Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights implemented a project whose principal aim was to build capacities of Iraqi civil society organizations (CSOs) to identify and develop inclusive, bottom-up and conflict-sensitive approaches to transitional and restorative justice (TJ/RJ). 

This project, supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), had set the groundwork for broader community-based reconciliation efforts and processes leading to positive peace outcomes. Such processes should diffuse ethnic and religious tensions, facilitate safe return of those still displaced, set the ground for sustainable peace and promote social cohesion and intercommunity harmony. Civil society actors, community leaders, state authorities, and survivors’ groups all have a role to play in this endeavor. These preconditions are to be created through combating conflict drivers including but not limited to hate speech, glorification of violence, revisionist narratives, sectarian and divisive rhetoric in public space.

To make the objective of this project a reality, Jiyan Foundation has worked with NGOs and civil society actors from all components of Iraq’s diverse society to develop innovative ideas that rethink currently taken roads to peace and justice and renew community trust.

Successful actions toward transitional and restorative justice build trust and engage all community members in meaningful decision-making, implementation, and evaluation. With all these considerations in mind, Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights led Iraqi NGOs in generating the following policy recommendations:

  1. Promoting solidarity with and among victims and affected communities across sectarian boundaries
  2. Women’s rights and inclusion through monitoring implementation of second National Action Plan of
    the UN Agenda on women Peace and Security.
  3. Focusing on youth through reach out events and especially social media.
  4. Promoting active citizenship
  5. Miscellaneous peacebuilding and restorative interventions at the local level to strengthen solidarity between communities and combat drivers of conflict.