Announcement of the agreed Peaceful Coexistence Principles between the tribes of Southwest Kirkuk
15th January 2017, Iraq – Kirkuk
Today, over 50 leading actors from southwest Kirkuk announced their commitment to a Peaceful Coexistence Principles pact that aims to prevent further conflict in the area once fully liberated from the so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIS). The leaders, with the support of the Governor of Kirkuk, committed to upholding and adopting the principles, which include, among other things, renouncing religious and political extremism, support for the rule-of-law, condemning acts of terrorism, and adhering to international human rights regulations and principles.
“This agreement, which aims to reduce the risk of violent conflict among and between the communities in Southwest Kirkuk, provides a foundation that lowers the risk of violence in the stabilization process once it begins, and a framework to resolve disputes going forward, “described Osama Gharizi, the Regional Program Manager for the Middle East at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
The agreement, signed by all conference attendees, is the result of an initiative led and implemented by Sanad for Peacebuilding (Sanad), a non-governmental, non-profit organization promoting peace and non-violence. The initiative, supported by USIP, involved facilitated dialogues and consultations with tribal leaders and local government officials from Kirkuk and Southwest Kirkuk to have a better understanding for the main challenges and opportunities to achieving peaceful coexistence after liberating the region from the Islamic State extremist group. The dialogues were run by Sanad’s strategic partner, the Network of Iraqi Facilitators (NIF).
Mohammed Al-Jubouri, a member of NIF and lead facilitator of the process, explained, “For Southwest Kirkuk it is vital for us to work on programmes that will prevent tensions and therefore further conflict in the region.”
The process saw 51 of the key actors in the region, including tribal sheikhs and government officials, agree to principles that would prevent further conflict in the region. “This programme has been able to bring together all sides of the community, with all working together to serve Southwest Kirkuk after liberation,” said Rakan Al-Jubouri, the Vice-Governor of Kirkuk Governorate. Similarly, the Mayor of the District of Hawija echoed similar sentiments, “This process was successful as it has been able to focus on the cooperation between the differing tribes and the local government to achieve the general principles for peace.”
Hawija and other parts of Southwest Kirkuk has been occupied by ISIS since August 2014, a fact which has uprooted the area’s social dynamic. Furthermore, tensions have existed in the area well before the extremist group between communities and local authorities. The Peaceful Coexistence Principles, agreed upon today, have brought together the differing tribes, with full support of the government, in a plan to maintain peace in the region.
“This programme has highlighted the role of tribes in achieving security and peace among the Iraqi community,” explained Sheikh Sufyan Al-Nu’aimi, Emir of Al-Nu’aim Tribe, one of leading tribes in the region,
Attendees included, the Vice-governor of Kirkuk governorate, the Mayor of Hawija, the Director of Kirkuk Tribal Affairs, Director of Hawija Council, provisional council members and various tribal leaders.
Since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, Southwest Kirkuk, particularly Hawija, has been a hotspot for ongoing violence and conflict. Sunni insurgents frequently attacked US and Iraqi forces during the years of occupation making it one of the most dangerous areas in the region.
As of 2012 census, the population of Hawija is 275,559. The region has a rapidly expanding population, with the growth rate of Hawija’s population estimated as being 7.7 per cent between 1997 and 2008 compared to only 3 percent for the rest of Iraq. Soon after the 2003 Iraq War, Hawija came into media focus on 19 April 2013, when an unprecedented amount of violence erupted. In the 2013 Hawija clashes between Sunni protesters and Iraqi Army, some 53 people were killed. Further associated violence brought the total death toll by April 27, to 215.
Under ISIS occupation, Hawija’s residents suffer from a severe shortage of critical supplies, including food, water, and medicines. The Kurdistan Regional Government estimates that 18,000 people fled Hawija in August 2016; they say that approximately 400-450 families arrive at Peshmerga checkpoints from Hawija each week. Hawija has a complex demographic with a predominantly Sunni Arab population.
Supporting Baghdad City of Peace Carnival
September 21, 2016, Iraq – Baghdad
In the International Day of Peace, as part of the support Sanad for Peacebuilding Organization is providing for youth regarding Peacebuilding in Iraq, Sanad and other institutions supported Baghdad City of Peace Carnival 2016, where Sanad was regarded as a donor and strategic partner.
Baghdad City of Peace Carnival is an annual youth gathering takes place on Dijlah riverbank in Abu Nawas Park – Baghdad. It aims to reflect a positive image of Baghdad through a set of Cultural, Art, and Social activities led by youth from different religious and cultural backgrounds. This Carnival takes on September 21 of each year, which marks the International Day of Peace.
Sanad for Peacebuilding Organization’s contributed with a booth. In the booth Sanad team has distributed brochures and other printed materials to the visitors of the carnival that provided information on Sanad, the networks AIM and NIF, and Sanad’s nature of work and its most highlighted achievements. Sanad was able to attract more than 300 young individuals to express their commitment by pledging to support peace and tolerance, and renouncing extremism and sectarian discrimination. In addition to that, Sanad was successful to poll and survey opinions about youth role in Peacebuilding and what types of activities and initiatives that are important to support and provide youth engagement in promoting Peace and nonviolent concepts. This action included individual and group interviews for almost 80 visitors and volunteers.
Sanad for Peacebuilding Organization is committed to promote Peace and tolerance concepts among different segments of the Iraqi society, and to make the needed efforts to support volunteerism of the youth as part of the civil society, that aim to increase social cohesion and call for peaceful coexistence in Iraq.
The press conference for Influential Tribal leaders and Government Authorities from Nineveh Agree to Principles for Peaceful Coexistence Post-Liberation
During the conference entitled Peaceful Coexistence in Nineveh: Principles Post-Liberation, more than 30 influential tribal leaders from Nineveh as well as the National Reconciliation Committee in the Prime Minister’s Office (NRC), and the Governor of Nineveh, agreed to a common set of principles for peaceful coexistence in the province, a move which will strengthen stabilization and reconciliation efforts post-liberation.
The leaders, with the support of the NRC and Governor of Nineveh, committed to respect and adopt the principles of the agreement, which includes, among other things, the rejection of religious and political extremism, support for the rule-of-law, condemnation of terrorists actions, and a commitment to human rights conventions and principles.
The agreement, signed by all those in attendance, is the result of an initiative led and implemented by Sanad for Peacebuilding (Sanad), a non-governmental, non-profit organization promoting peace and non-violence. The initiative, which was supported by the Canadian Government’s Global Peace and Security Fund, involved facilitated dialogues and consultations with tribal leaders in order to understand the main challenges and opportunities to peaceful coexistence after the defeat of the extremist group ISIS. The dialogues were led by Sanad’s strategic partner, the Network of Iraqi Facilitators.
During the conference, Mohammed Salman, the Prime Minister’s advisor on national reconciliation, committed his office to supporting the agreement as well as any other necessary measures that would benefit Nineveh and its residents. Additionally, the Governor of Nineveh, Nawfal al-Sultan, emphasized starting the process of looking into potential conflicts post-liberation as soon as possible, and offered his full support for Sanad’s work.
Sanad will continue to work with the tribal leaders, the NRC and the Governor’s office to ensure the agreement is being implemented as agreed to by all parties.
The full details of the agreement can be found in the below link:
The press conference for Albu Ajeel and Albu Nassir tribal leaders regarding Speicher Base Massacre
April 28, 2015, Iraq – Erbil
In April 28, 2015, Albu Ajeel and Albu Nassir tribal have made a press conference to declare their true position in what have happened in the atrocious Massacre of Speicher base that targeted Iraqi people in June, 2014. Tribal leaders during the press release have addressed the national and significant role of the Supreme Religious Authority in standing against ISIS. The press release also focused on the Iraqi military accomplishment and the will to participate in the liberation of the Iraqi lands alongside with Iraqi security forces.
Tribal leaders have declared innocence from those who committed Speicher massacre and those who belonged to Albu Ajeel and Albu Nassir tribes in this press release. Tribal leaders also committed to cooperate with the Iraqi authorities through giving the names of the involved people in the massacre, and help locate burial sites of the victims. Tribal leaders also stand alongside with their brothers and fellow citizens in central-southern Iraq by demanding the Iraqi government to provide moral and material compensation to the victims’ families, while in the meantime, demanding the government to declare the facts concerning Speicher crime.
This press release is a part of an initiative led by the Network of Iraqi Facilitators (NIF), NIF is a group of Iraqis specialized in conflict management, facilitating dialogues, mediation, and promoting peaceful co-existence and peacebuilding concepts, with the administrative support provided by Sanad for Peacebuilding organization, where the team has formed the “communication and coordination committee”, which is comprised of Iraqi elite tribal leaders from Saladin province, and central and southern provinces to work on mitigating the tension resulted from Speicher massacre, and to enhance the national unity and sustainable peaceful coexistence among diverse Iraqi segments.