By Omar al-Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi protesters demand UN protection from violence of authorities

Iraqi protesters are seeking greater international attention to both their cause and attacks by security forces and armed groups, even at one point displaying a large United Nations flag at the Turkish restaurant at Tahrir Square; the restaurant was seized Feb. 1 by supporters of populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Protests started in early October in a bid to bring about political change in the country. On Jan. 28, the logo of the international organization was raised, a day after demonstrators circulated posters in Tahrir Square calling for the UN to intervene to protect them from excessive violence.

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes a new donation of USD 5.6 million from the Kingdom of the Netherlands for 2019 and 2020 to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and Syrian refugees in Iraq.

This contribution is part of the global PROSPECTS Partnership aiming at joining partners’ efforts to develop a new paradigm in responding to forced displacement crises through the involvement of development actors. While Iraq recovers from conflict, the needs of its population diversify. Some 4.4 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 1.4 million displaced Iraqis and over 286,000 refugees, and the host communities, is essential to ensure a stable and peaceful recovery. The generous contribution from the Kingdom of the Netherlands will ensure the provision of legal assistance and civil documentation to internally displaced persons across Iraq, along with the provision of specialized individual and group-based psychosocial support for children.

In addition, the donation will contribute to improve the access to formal primary and secondary education for Syrian refugee children in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. H.E. Mr. Eric Strating (pictured), Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Iraq, emphasized the importance of the urgent recovery and strengthened resilience of those who have been affected and displaced by conflict. “If we truly want to assist Iraq in achieving durable stability, we cannot leave anyone behind. Assistance in the field of civil documentation, access to education, but also psychosocial support, is part of the most basic needs for people who are trying to rebuild their lives.”

Within this context, the Netherlands initiated the PROSPECTS Partnership in Iraq, aimed at strengthened cooperation of humanitarian and development partners, in order to achieve durable solutions for the 1.4 million displaced Iraqi’s and the 286,000 refugees on Iraqi soil.The recent Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment conducted from June to August 2019, shows that nearly 2.9 million individuals, including camp-based and out-of-camp IDPs as well as returnees, are missing at least one form of civil documentation.

With the generous donation from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, UNHCR will continue assisting IDPs to access legal assistance and civil documentation in collaboration with the Government of Iraq, helping them establish their legal identity, access public services, return to their homes, and exercise their basic rights.

Moreover, this contribution will support the provision of case management and psychosocial support for children survivors of violence, exploitation and abuse, and will complement education assistance aimed at ensuring access to formal education opportunities and obtaining official learning accreditation for Syrian refugee children.

“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 national reconciliation efforts. Particularly the more than 1.4 million Iraqis and over 286,000 refugees still affected by displacement and wishing to rebuild their lives. This generous contribution enables us to be responsive and compassionate with those that continue relying heavily on humanitarian assistance. With ongoing support, we will stand with all those affected by displacement in Iraq until complete recovery is achieved.” said Ayman Gharaibeh, UNHCR Representative in Iraq.

(Source: UN)

Iraq, compared to neighbouring countries in the Middle East like Jordan and Lebanon, hosts the lowest number of immigrants relevant to the population. However, the country’s foreign population increased 338 per cent between 1990 and 2017, due largely to the influx of refugees from Syria.

Migration in northern Iraq is largely driven by conflict, while migration in southern Iraq is more often linked to livelihood factors such as the loss of arable land and water scarcity.

These, and other findings from the first Migration Profile for Iraq, were revealed on Thursday (19/12) during a press briefing at Baghdad’s Babylon Hotel. The Migration Profile was developed through a capacity-building process overseen by a Technical Working Group established by the Government of Iraq’s Ministries of Migration and Displacement; Interior; Foreign Affairs; Justice; Labour and Social Affairs; and Planning; as well as the Central Statistics Office alongside the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Migration Profile presents facts and figures about migration; it is the first-ever statistical overview of migration in Iraq and will help establish an evidence base that will influence national migration policies and strategies including a National Migration Strategy. In October 2019 IOM also completed the Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) assessment that measures national capacities across 90 governance indicators in six thematic areas.

“The Migration Profile is the result of the first-year meetings between Iraqi ministries and IOM. It will influence both near and far-reaching migration policies,” said Ahmed Rahim, Director of the Department of Foreign Immigration at the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

“The Migration Profile demonstrates the Government of Iraq’s commitment to harnessing evidence-based and whole-of-Government approaches towards strong migration governance” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “The Migration data it contains can be leveraged in years to come to mainstream migration into policies and strategies.”

The profile shows that patterns of out migration have shifted significantly since 2003. During the period between the Gulf War and 2003, the primary destination for Iraqis migrating abroad was Iran; after 2003, Jordan and Syria emerged as primary destinations. Europe became a major destination after 2014, with Sweden, Germany and the UK standing out as significant destination countries.

In recent years, internal displacement has been a prime concern. Displacement driven by the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) presents a peculiar case, in that it has provoked more internal displacement than international migration — in part because previous countries of refuge were in crisis themselves (Syria) or inaccessible (Jordan). Emigration as a result of ISIL’s presence has reached Turkey, Europe and Western countries, rather than former asylum countries (Iran, Jordan, Syria).

Other findings of the profile relate to the Iraqi diaspora; trends of irregular migration; Iraqi students studying abroad; and more. IOM has carried out similar studies in over 80 countries around the world using a standard approach to the research. The profile uses existing knowledge and literature; interviews with government and international organizations; publicly available quantitative data; and non-public data shared both by Iraqi authorities and international organizations.

(Source: UN)

Kirkuk: Youth come together to discuss issues of reconciliation and stability

Twenty-four young women and men, representing the youth of Kirkuk Governorate, recently met in Kirkuk city to discuss what the youth see as key issues in the context of their Governorate.

In the presence of the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Kirkuk Office, Ms. Laura Romanazzi, the Acting Governor of Kirkuk, Mr. Rakan Al-Jubouri, several local officials, politicians and UNAMI representatives from the Office of Political Affairs, the energetic and inspiring youth delegates discussed issues pertaining to unemployment, youth participation in decision making and supporting youth projects, the current security situation in the country, provision of basic services including the right to education, combatting corruption and the role of oversight institutions.

In her address to the workshop, Ms. Laura Romanazzi said that Kirkuk was “a Governorate which showcases all of the complexity, diversity, potential, conflict and promise of Iraq”. Therefore, “inclusive and honest discussions must take place between communities to address past legacies”. This, she added, “cannot be done without the political, social and economic participation of young people – and your involvement in reconciliation efforts to bridge differences and address grievances”.

The youth workshop held from 13-15 December 2019 was organised by UNAMI, in cooperation with the Coexistence and Social Peace Committee under the auspices of the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Iraqi Al-Amal Association. The activity is in line with UNAMI’s mandate to support youth and their valuable contributions to the country.

(Source: UN)

UNFPA renews its partnership with the European Regional Development and Protection Programme for Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (RDPP II) with a multi-year grant of a total of DKK 22,056,446, equivalent of US$ 3.36 million to the Fund’s on-going interventions to mitigate and respond to gender-based violence in Iraq.

The conflict in Iraq and the subsequent humanitarian crisis have exponentially exposed the population, particularly women, girls and boys, to various forms of gender-based violence, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

RDPP’s contribution supports training, capacity building and system strengthening initiatives targeting institutions and government entities. This partnership ensures the continuity of mentored service provision related to survivors and well-being of women and girls from refugee, internally displaced and host communities across the country.

Furthermore, this new funding enables UNFPA to work with partners on strengthening the legal framework and enhancing behavioral changes through evidence-based advocacy.

“This partnership aims to support government institutions in strengthening their capacity to respond to the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and enhance the prevention of violence against women”, said Vincenzo Schiano-Lomoriello, RDPP Liaison and Project Manager, “This approach also ensures the active engagement of local partners and community leaders in the response to women and girl GBV survivors through the development of tools, national systems, and other capacity-building initiatives”.

“I am grateful for RDPP’s renewed trust in our interventions in Iraq,” said Dr Oluremi Sogunro, UNFPA Representative to Iraq. “UNFPA and RDPP’s partnership dates from 2017 and has allowed the Fund to support the establishment of a helpline

“119” for GBV survivors and put together a communication for behavioural impact (COMBI) plan to end Female Genital Mutilation’s in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq”.

“With RDPP, we aim at strengthening education, individual training, and national data systems as well as improving individual rights and freedoms across Iraq: We shall leave no one behind”, he concluded.

(Source: UN)

Stabilizing liberated areas in Iraq post-ISIL remains a top priority for Germany

The German Federal Foreign Office has contributed another 11 mio USD to the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It will support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL, which includes repairing essential public infrastructure and providing short-term employment opportunities.

With this contribution, Germany’s support through the German Federal Foreign Office to the FFS amounts to over 100 mio USD. Overall, Germany is the second-largest contributor of the 28 donors that fund the FFS. The Facility finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL in priority areas identified by the Government of Iraq.

“Since Iraq’s liberation from ISIL, so much progress has been made in bringing stability to areas that were under its territorial control. We are extremely grateful for Germany’s continued support to UNDP, which has allowed us to help more than 8 million Iraqis access better services and facilities,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“The challenges facing Iraq are enormous, so I would like to thank the German Federal Foreign Office for prioritizing Iraqi communities as they continue to recover from the atrocities of ISIL,” adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

“Iraq and the international community jointly defeated ISIL, as we marked this important anniversary yesterday. We must not forget the needs in the liberated areas, where still 1.4 million IDPs cannot return home, and in many areas basic needs have not yet been rehabilitated”, said Jochen Möller, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy in Baghdad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has completed more than 2,200 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 386 currently underway.  Approximately 895 projects are in the planning stages.

(Source: UNDP)

Stabilizing liberated areas in Iraq post-ISIL remains a top priority for Germany

The German Federal Foreign Office has contributed another 11 mio USD to the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It will support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL, which includes repairing essential public infrastructure and providing short-term employment opportunities.

With this contribution, Germany’s support through the German Federal Foreign Office to the FFS amounts to over 100 mio USD. Overall, Germany is the second-largest contributor of the 28 donors that fund the FFS. The Facility finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL in priority areas identified by the Government of Iraq.

“Since Iraq’s liberation from ISIL, so much progress has been made in bringing stability to areas that were under its territorial control. We are extremely grateful for Germany’s continued support to UNDP, which has allowed us to help more than 8 million Iraqis access better services and facilities,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“The challenges facing Iraq are enormous, so I would like to thank the German Federal Foreign Office for prioritizing Iraqi communities as they continue to recover from the atrocities of ISIL,” adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

“Iraq and the international community jointly defeated ISIL, as we marked this important anniversary yesterday. We must not forget the needs in the liberated areas, where still 1.4 million IDPs cannot return home, and in many areas basic needs have not yet been rehabilitated”, said Jochen Möller, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy in Baghdad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has completed more than 2,200 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 386 currently underway.  Approximately 895 projects are in the planning stages.

(Source: UNDP)

The following Security Council press statement was issued on Friday by Council President Kelly Craft (United States):

The members of the Security Council welcomed efforts for an inclusive dialogue between the Government and people of Iraq to urgently deliver reforms aimed at addressing legitimate demands over economic opportunity, governance and electoral legislation.  The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and prosperity of Iraq.

The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the loss of life of those demonstrating and at the killing, maiming and arbitrary arrests of unarmed demonstrators.  The members of the Security Council acknowledged the right to peaceful assembly in Iraq and called for Iraqi authorities to promptly conduct transparent investigations into the violence against those demonstrating.

They expressed concern over the killing or maiming of unarmed demonstrators and security forces.  The members of the Security Council expressed concern over the involvement of armed groups in extrajudicial killings and kidnappings.  The members of the Security Council called for maximum restraint and urged all to refrain from violence or the destruction of critical infrastructure.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for efforts led by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, in accordance with resolution 2470 (2019), to support and assist the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people with inclusive political dialogue, national- and community-level reconciliation, and electoral assistance to the Government of Iraq and Independent High Electoral Commission.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for Iraq’s continued post-conflict recovery, stabilization, reconstruction, reconciliation, development, and reform efforts to meet the needs of all Iraqis and reaffirmed the security of Iraq, particularly in light of Iraq’s territorial victory over Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh).

The members of the Security Council recognized the importance of the Government of Iraq upholding the values set forth in the Iraqi Constitution and responding to the needs of all Iraqis, including women, youth, children, displaced persons and persons belonging to all ethnic and religious groups.

(Source: UN)

The following Security Council press statement was issued on Friday by Council President Kelly Craft (United States):

The members of the Security Council welcomed efforts for an inclusive dialogue between the Government and people of Iraq to urgently deliver reforms aimed at addressing legitimate demands over economic opportunity, governance and electoral legislation.  The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and prosperity of Iraq.

The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the loss of life of those demonstrating and at the killing, maiming and arbitrary arrests of unarmed demonstrators.  The members of the Security Council acknowledged the right to peaceful assembly in Iraq and called for Iraqi authorities to promptly conduct transparent investigations into the violence against those demonstrating.

They expressed concern over the killing or maiming of unarmed demonstrators and security forces.  The members of the Security Council expressed concern over the involvement of armed groups in extrajudicial killings and kidnappings.  The members of the Security Council called for maximum restraint and urged all to refrain from violence or the destruction of critical infrastructure.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for efforts led by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, in accordance with resolution 2470 (2019), to support and assist the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people with inclusive political dialogue, national- and community-level reconciliation, and electoral assistance to the Government of Iraq and Independent High Electoral Commission.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for Iraq’s continued post-conflict recovery, stabilization, reconstruction, reconciliation, development, and reform efforts to meet the needs of all Iraqis and reaffirmed the security of Iraq, particularly in light of Iraq’s territorial victory over Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh).

The members of the Security Council recognized the importance of the Government of Iraq upholding the values set forth in the Iraqi Constitution and responding to the needs of all Iraqis, including women, youth, children, displaced persons and persons belonging to all ethnic and religious groups.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Swiss-based has won a contract with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the provision of “Explosive Hazard Clearance Teams (EHC Teams) and Risk Education (RE) in Iraq with International Technical Oversight Component: Sinjar & Tal Afar“.

The contract is worth $2,548,636.

(Source: UNGM)