By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)

By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)

Euro-Med Monitor launches advocacy campaign to stop the bloodshed against peaceful protesters in Iraq

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has sent letters to the European Union and the French and German governments, urging them to exert pressure on the Iraqi government to stop the use of lethal force against ongoing popular protests, and to immediately stop the use of violence against peaceful protestors.

The Geneva-based organization said in a statement that it had sent letters to Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and German Foreign Minister Haikou Massu, briefing them on the bloody security campaigns against protesters calling for the overthrow of the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi for failing to tackle corruption and solve the issues of power outages and unemployment in Iraq.

The Euro-Med expressed its grave concern over the ongoing violence and repression by Iraqi authorities which was made possible by the agreements signed between the Iraqi government and the European Union against popular protests over the past two months.

In its letter to the Iraqi government, the Euro-Med called for an immediate and serious investigation into the killings by security forces, calling for their withdrawal from areas of contact with protesters, and for ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice. The organization called for the release of detainees detained at the protests, compensation for all victims of violations for the illegal use of force by security forces and adopting effective steps to confirm the Iraqi government’s commitment to freedom of opinion and peaceful assembly, as guaranteed by international and domestic laws.

Since the protests erupted on October 1, the Euro-Med has documented the deaths of more than 363 protesters by security forces and snipes, as well as the injury of more than 15,000 others for expressing their opinions, as guaranteed by the Iraqi Constitution and international agreements to protect the right to freedom of peaceful opinion and assembly.

The Euro-Med said its teams documented horrific details of killings and abductions of unarmed demonstrators, journalists, human rights activists and observers, and monitored a series of security campaigns organized by Iraqi police, security forces and military formations against demonstrations, especially in the provinces of Southern Iraq. The organization monitored the closure of several media outlets, most recently on November 24, as the Iraqi government issued a decision to close the offices of 8 television channels, and 4 other media outlets for 3 months for allegedly violating “the codes of professional conduct.”

In a letter to the European Union, the Euro-Med said the French government continues to assist Iraqi internal security forces by providing them with military support and training, including weapons used to deal with peaceful demonstrations. The Geneva-based group noted that Germany too extended in September the training of the German mission (Bundeswehr) of the Iraqi local troops for a year.

The organization added in its letter to the German Foreign Minister, “We find it disturbing that the member states of the European Union continue to help the Iraqi authorities and have not yet considered to benefit from this assistance at least to ensure respect for human rights.”

The Euro-Med pointed out that between 2014 and 2018, Iraq was the main country buying arms from the Czech Republic while during the same period, France provided 8.6% of arms imports to the Middle East, including Iraq.

The Euro-Med stated that although the EU imposed an embargo on arms exports to Iraq in 2003, in 2004 it adopted the Common Position 2004/553/CFSP, which authorized the sale, supply, transfer, or export of weapons and related materials required by the newly established Government of Iraq.

In its letter to the French Foreign Minister, the Euro-Med said that since the outbreak of the Iraqi protests, Paris has not reduced its military assistance nor taken necessary punitive measures against the Iraqi authorities to curb its use of violence against peaceful demonstrators, noting that this unfortunate slowdown could make France complicit in such tragic events taking place in Iraq.

The Euro-Med called on the EU to consider re-imposing the arms embargo, even partially, to ensure that military training and arms exports from EU member states are not used to commit new violations against peaceful protests.

The organization stressed the need for the European Union to consider the use of its assistance to Iraq in order to ensure that the government of Abdul-Mahdi complies with its responsibilities towards non-violent protests and to stop use of force against demonstrators.

The Euro-Med called on the European Union to pressure the Iraqi government to show adequate respect for human rights in Iraq, in addition to pledging not to use EU aid and military supplies to suppress peaceful protests.

The Euro-Med concluded by calling on the French government to suspend the training of personnel and other forms of assistance of the Iraqi government until it abides by its responsibilities towards non-violent protests, stop all forms of use of force against them, and open immediate and serious investigations into the brutal use of violence against them in the last two months and pledge to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with Iraqi and international laws.

(Source: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor)

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes a new donation of EUR 3 million from the EU to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq.

This funding will contribute to ensure the provision of legal assistance and civil documentation to over 30,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) across Iraq and to guarantee that camp management and camp coordination services (CCCM) are in place in all UNHCR-managed camps in Ninewa Governorate.

While Iraq recovers from conflict, the needs of its population diversify. Some 4.3 million people have returned to their homes and are restarting their lives, however the conditions for sustainable return are not yet met across all the country. Continued assistance for the 1.5 million individuals who remain displaced and the communities hosting them is essential to ensure a stable and peaceful recovery.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said:

“This new humanitarian assistance will be instrumental to help the most vulnerable populations in Iraq, especially the displaced. It is essential for the stability of the country. The people of Europe stand in full solidarity with the people of Iraq in this critical phase.”

Guaranteeing access to legal assistance and the obtention of civil documentation is a key aspect of recovery as it is a basic requirement for displaced persons to establish their legal identity, access public services, return to their homes, and exercise their basic rights.

The generous donation from the EU will secure that IDPs have access to these fundamental services, ensuring that returns are conducted in a safe and sustainable manner. For those living in camps, support remains critical.

In Ninewa Governorate alone, over 50,000 IDPs (8,300 families) are still living in UNHCR-managed camps With the EU’s aid, UNHCR will be able to ensure adequate services and key camp infrastructures are in place to support those living in them.

Ayman Gharaibeh, UNHCR Representative in Iraq:

While the situation in Iraq has notably improved during the past years and the country is steadily transitioning and advancing into a new post-conflict phase, we need to continue supporting its people in their recovery and reconstruction efforts. Particularly the more than 1.5 million Iraqis still affected by displacement and wishing to rebuild their lives.

“This generous contribution by the EU enables us to be responsive and compassionate with those that continue relying heavily on humanitarian assistance. With ongoing support, we will stand with the people of Iraq until complete recovery is achieved.

(Source: UN)

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes a new donation of EUR 3 million from the EU to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq.

This funding will contribute to ensure the provision of legal assistance and civil documentation to over 30,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) across Iraq and to guarantee that camp management and camp coordination services (CCCM) are in place in all UNHCR-managed camps in Ninewa Governorate.

While Iraq recovers from conflict, the needs of its population diversify. Some 4.3 million people have returned to their homes and are restarting their lives, however the conditions for sustainable return are not yet met across all the country. Continued assistance for the 1.5 million individuals who remain displaced and the communities hosting them is essential to ensure a stable and peaceful recovery.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said:

“This new humanitarian assistance will be instrumental to help the most vulnerable populations in Iraq, especially the displaced. It is essential for the stability of the country. The people of Europe stand in full solidarity with the people of Iraq in this critical phase.”

Guaranteeing access to legal assistance and the obtention of civil documentation is a key aspect of recovery as it is a basic requirement for displaced persons to establish their legal identity, access public services, return to their homes, and exercise their basic rights.

The generous donation from the EU will secure that IDPs have access to these fundamental services, ensuring that returns are conducted in a safe and sustainable manner. For those living in camps, support remains critical.

In Ninewa Governorate alone, over 50,000 IDPs (8,300 families) are still living in UNHCR-managed camps With the EU’s aid, UNHCR will be able to ensure adequate services and key camp infrastructures are in place to support those living in them.

Ayman Gharaibeh, UNHCR Representative in Iraq:

While the situation in Iraq has notably improved during the past years and the country is steadily transitioning and advancing into a new post-conflict phase, we need to continue supporting its people in their recovery and reconstruction efforts. Particularly the more than 1.5 million Iraqis still affected by displacement and wishing to rebuild their lives.

“This generous contribution by the EU enables us to be responsive and compassionate with those that continue relying heavily on humanitarian assistance. With ongoing support, we will stand with the people of Iraq until complete recovery is achieved.

(Source: UN)

By Nick O’Connell, Partner, Al Tamimi & Co.

This briefing note was originally published by lus laboris and is republished with permission by Iraq Business News.

In Iraq the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had limited impact.

There is currently no modern data protection law in Iraq, and there is accordingly no data protection authority.

There are Iraqi law considerations that could be material in the context of considering personal data processing activities, either in an HR context or more broadly.

These have not been prepared with GDPR in mind. They range from general provisions protecting privacy or providing for remedies where someone causes damage to another.

Depending on the circumstances of a data breach, it may be prudent to consider notifying law enforcement authorities and affected individuals, although there is no generally applicable legal obligation to do so.

Joint statement by HR/VP Mogherini and Iraqi Foreign Minister Alhakim on the EU-Iraq relations and regional cooperation

The European Union and Iraq strongly affirm their shared commitment to peace and stability in the wider Middle East and call for the de-escalation of the current tensions in the region, reminding that the risks and the consequences may affect Iraq, the region and beyond.

The EU and Iraq share a common vision for the region and wish to proactively support actions and initiatives to promote dialogue instead of confrontation, aiming to build a cooperative framework based on shared interests. Cooperation is the strongest foundation of a long-term regional security, stability and sustainable development.

The European Union remains committed towork together with the Iraqi government to promote these values and is firmly of the view that the Iraqi proposal of a regional conference merits full support and engagement.

Iraq and EU reaffirm their strong bond of partnership and friendship, deepened in recent years during the joint cooperation to defeat Da’esh. The EU highly values Iraq’s contribution and sacrifices in the war against terrorism and supports its efforts to eradicate all forms of terrorist ideology.

Iraq strongly appreciates EU’s support to the Government of Iraq and to the Iraqi people as well as the EU’s commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East through diplomatic engagement.

The 2018 EU Strategy for Iraq defines the mechanism to support the political and economic priorities of the partnership with the Government. The entry into force of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Iraq (PCA) in August 2018 sets the legal framework for this partnership.

Both sides look forward to swift implementation, which will reinforce cooperation on a range of topics of mutual interest, including democracy and human rights, economic and trade matters, energy, security, transport, environment and migration-related issues.

The EU and the Government of Iraq will continue to work together to achieve the objectives of the Conference for Iraq Reconstruction held in Kuwait in February 2018 to provide a better future for the Iraqi people, based on improved governance and inclusive economic development.

Since 2014, the EU has provided €1.2 billion in humanitarian, stabilisation, development, and security cooperation, which is the best testimony of its long term commitment to a strategic partnership with Iraq.

(Source: EU)

EU adopts new €100 million assistance package to benefit refugees and local communities in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq

The European Union (EU) – via the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis – adopted a €100 million new assistance package to support the resilience of refugees, internally displaced person (IDP) host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

This will be done through the strengthening of public service delivery systems, improved access to higher education, and improved child protection services.

With this new package €1.6 billion out of a total of €1.8 billion mobilised by the EU Trust Fund have now been turned into financing concrete actions helping refugees and host countries alike.

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented:

“The EU delivers on its commitments. With these additional €100 million of assistance, the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis continues to support refugees to become increasingly economically self-reliant. Through access to income generating opportunities, they are able to take their livelihoods in their own hands, provide for themselves, and preserve their dignity.

“At the same time we are supporting host communities and Syria’s neighbours in their effort to expand their economies while coping with challenges related to the conflict which is still ongoing”.

The newly adopted €100 million aid package consists of the following actions:

  • €55 million to support the resilience of refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq;
  • €28.4 million for access to higher education for refugees and vulnerable host youth in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq;
  • €12.5 million to provide protection services to children and women victim of gender based violence in Lebanon;
  • €3.6 million to continue and strengthen the Trust Fund’s horizontal monitoring and evaluation framework.

This assistance package has been adopted by the EU Trust Fund’s Operational Board, which brings together the European Commission, fifteen EU Member States, and Turkey. Observers of the Operational Board include members of the European Parliament, representatives from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the World Bank, and the Syria Recovery Trust Fund.

The EU Trust Fund is now in its fifth year of implementation, but the Syria crisis is far from being over. Over time, the needs have changed and the Trust Fund has evolved from providing early recovery assistance focusing on addressing basic needs of those affected by the Syria crisis to equipping refugees and local communities with tools and skills for greater self-reliance.

The Trust Fund also focuses on reinforcing the national systems for public service delivery to meet refugee and local community needs in the longer term. Currently 67 projects have been contracted to implementing partners on the ground.

(Source: EU)

EU Provides Additional EUR 2M to IOM Iraq for Critical Infrastructure Improvements in Camps

Five years after the onset of the ISIL crisis and the subsequent massive internal displacement, over half a million Iraqis continue to live in camps.

The European Union (EU) has awarded an additional EUR 2 million to IOM in Iraq to make critical infrastructure improvements in camps for internally displaced persons. This brings the total EU humanitarian contribution IOM Iraq has received in 2019 to EUR 5 million.

With this additional allocation, in coordination with the Government of Iraq and local authorities, IOM will be able to improve the living conditions of camp residents. IOM will rehabilitate deteriorating road and drainage networks in three Jad’ah camps, near Mosul in Ninewa governorate.

The Jad’ah camps currently host over 8,600 households, around 35,000 individuals, the majority from the districts of Hatra, Mosul, Al-Ba’aj and Telafar in Ninewa. These families are among the most vulnerable in Iraq; return to their areas of origin is not feasible in the near future for a variety of reasons, including damage to their houses, continued insecurity, limited access to employment opportunities, and limited basic services in their hometowns.

“While many displaced families have been able to return, we cannot forget about those who remain in camps. Ensuring that those displaced by fighting have access to humanitarian assistance remains a priority for the EU in Iraq,” said Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

During the height of the 2014–2017 crisis, IOM and humanitarian partners in Iraq developed camps to house tens of thousands of families fleeing ISIL, often constructed quickly due to pressing emergency circumstances.  Infrastructure in those camps has since become worn and needs upgrades and repair.

“With our contribution we hope to improve the living conditions of Iraqis who are still in protracted displacement, and we encourage other partners in the humanitarian community to do the same. In 2019, we look forward to continuing to address these pressing needs in partnership with IOM,” Commissioner Stylianides added.

This humanitarian contribution by the EU will complement the previous allocation of EUR 3 million, received in March 2019, being used to conduct critical maintenance activities in camps across Iraq, to replace basic household items for camp populations and provide basic relief kits, including kitchen sets, blankets and mattresses.

“The conditions in many camps in Iraq have worsened over the last year due to natural wear-and-tear and limited investments. Camps have remained in service for longer than initially expected and now need upkeep and improvement,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite.

“This additional allocation from the EU will enable IOM to provide much needed support in some of the most populous camps, which are housing displaced families who are among the most vulnerable, with no immediate or medium-term prospect of returning home.”

Return is especially difficult for vulnerable families, including those in a situation of protracted displacement, who after years of displacement have exhausted their resources and are not able to afford to rebuild their homes.

The EU, through its EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department, and IOM Iraq have been in a strategic partnership to provide camp management, camp maintenance, infrastructure upgrades and shelter and non-food items response in and out of camps in Iraq since 2014, with a total budget of over EUR 36 million, assisting altogether more than 700,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries.

Both organizations continue to play a leading role in advocating for continued support to families in protracted displacement while coordinating to find longer-term solutions for these internally displaced populations.

Across Iraq, more than 1.6 million Iraqis continue to be displaced following the conflict with ISIL. Of those who were displaced, more than 4.2 million have been able to return to their areas of origin, according to IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix.

For figures and analysis on displacement in Iraq please visit: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/

(Source: IOM)

Farming families in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Governorate will benefit from a European Union contribution of €15 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recover agricultural livelihoods. The area, which includes the city of Mosul, was known as the country’s ‘breadbasket’ before conflict caused widespread damage and displacement.

This project is expected to directly benefit almost 10,000 vulnerable farming families (around 60,000 people), as well as flow-on benefits for local service providers and labourers.

“As part of the EU’s commitment to the whole of Iraq, supporting the regions so tragically devastated by the recent conflict remains a high priority. By reviving agriculture in Nineveh, a key sector of the economy, this new project will help communities and returnees in rural areas, increasing their income and employment opportunities,” said Ramon Blecua, European Union Ambassador to Iraq.

“We are grateful to the European Union for this generous contribution to help us rehabilitate key agricultural facilities and equipment. Getting these services operational again will be a big help for farmers and local businesses,” said Mustapha M. Sinaceur, FAO Representative a.i. in Iraq. “Creating jobs in the heartland of agriculture, where so many jobs depend on the rich soils of Nineveh Governorate, is vital for community stabilization,” he said.

The impact of conflict on the agricultural sector has been devastating and includes damage to water systems, irrigation facilities and other agricultural infrastructure, disruption of value chains and losses of personal assets, crop and livestock production, and food supplies.

Since the Iraqi government announced the defeat of Islamic State, also known as Da’esh, a year ago, many people have returned, encouraged by the efforts to ensure a secure and safe environment. However, some areas still lack basic services and job opportunities for both returnees and those who remained.

FAO and the EU working together for family farmers

The EU-funded project supports smallholder farming families to diversify incomes, increase resilience, and provide nutritious and healthy diets.

The project will support vulnerable smallholder farmers to resume vegetable production, introduce efficient irrigation water use and management, encourage agri-food processing, improve small-scale dairy processing and marketing, and boost animal fodder production and conservation.

Women, in particular, will be supported to participate in home-based vegetable and dairy production and processing. Unemployed young agriculture graduates will be encouraged to benefit from training to gain employment as agri-food processors, farmer field school and farmer business school facilitators, community animal health workers, market information system operators, and food security and nutrition data collectors and analysts.

Together, these activities will respond to families’ immediate needs for food and essential non-food items as well as restoring agricultural livelihoods that generate income and employment over the longer term.

At the same time, the project aims to restore vital government infrastructure and support services to the agriculture sector that have been destroyed, damaged, or looted.

The project is an EU contribution to the UN’s Recovery and Resilience Programme (RRP) in Iraq. It is part of a larger package of support (€ 184.4 million euros) the EU has contributed to support stabilization and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the UN in support of the Government of Iraq since 2016.

FAO’s response in Iraq

Under the Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan 2019, FAO is working to ensure rural families have the resources to re-establish and secure their agricultural livelihoods and build their resilience into the future. FAO’s work, in close coordination with the Iraqi government, supports families returning to retaken areas, internally displaced families, host communities and refugees from Syria.

(Source: FAO)