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Velletri conference, Italy, 27-30 March 2009


Monday 22 November 2010

In Velletri, Italy (near Rome), 46 representatives of Iraqi civil society (journalists, trade unionists, women NGO representatives, activists for human rights) met with Italian and international civil society representatives.

Organizing committee: "Un ponte per...", Alternatives, Focus on the Global South, International Alliance of Inhabitants, International Civilian Campaign for the Protection of Palestinians, People’s Health Movement, Transnational Institute, War on Want.

Final report of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative Conference in Velletri

  1. Trade unionists, activists for human rights and for women’s rights, members of Youth and students unions, members of Ngos, representatives of minorities, women and men, citizens of Iraq and from the international community, including America, Europe and Asia, gathered in Velletri from 25 to 30 March 2009. This was to discuss the challenges that the Iraqi civil society is faced with in continuing to build a free and democratic Iraq, to strengthen alliances and improve cooperation.
  2. We have first of all recognised that in Iraq there exists a vibrant Civil
    Society which is active and committed to the deep problems that still affect
    Iraq after six years of occupation: grave humanitarian situation, illiteracy, lack
    of liberties, violation of human rights, violation of workers right, political
  3. The Iraqi civil society is composed of thousands of organisations, networks,
    and volunteers who are committed to confronting all these problems daily with
    proposals, projects, campaigns, lobbying, demonstrations, rallies, cultural
    initiatives. Iraqi civil society deserve to have this place on the international
    stage as an important actor in improving the Iraqi situation and receiving
    concrete support from the international civil society.
  4. The CSOs activity is affected by many factors: violence, political problems,
    political sectarianism of the society, and weakness of organisational
    experience. Freedom of association, of gathering, of establish trade union, of
    the media are still not guaranteed in Iraq. We are worried of this because
    these freedoms are the core of democracy.
  5. During these days all major challenges for a sovereign and democratic Iraq
    have been deeply discussed by Iraqi and between international and Iraqi
    participants. Discussion has been concrete and differences have enriched the
    debate. On this basis Iraqi CSOs will continue their work improving cooperation
    and developing initiatives.
  6. Out of the discussions the international participants gained a deeper
    knowledge of the Iraqi situation that will enable NGOs and activists of Europe,
    Asia and America to develop more effective solidarity actions to reinforce
    global support for the work of Iraqis. Another major outcome was the building
    of reciprocal knowledge and trust, and the establishment of contacts for future
    joint actions.

On this basis the participants has proposed a list of joint actions to be
developed in the future and will expand this networks and built new alliances by inviting more Iraqi and international organisation to participate to the process of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative.

Support through international raising awareness campaigns on issues identified by Iraqis as
 International petition for freedom of association and on NGO Law
 Campaign for advocate for workers rights and for the abolition of law 150
that limit the workers write to establish trade unions.
 Campaigns for improve the women’s position in the society and for the abolition of the art. 41 of Constitution in order to eliminate all the legislative
obstacle to gender equality.
 Constitution of the Human Rights Defenders union
 Promote the role of youth in the decision centres.

Cooperation to the capacity building of Iraqi CSOs
 Trainings on specific issues identified by Iraqis
 Support for activating direct contacts with donors and understanding how to approach them

Develop projects and networks for Peace building , non-violence and internal reconciliation processes and other key concerns identified by Iraqis

In order to strengthen the communication:
 To develop a Internal Social Website for Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity
Initiative, in English and Arabic.
 To establish workgroup e-mail lists (on privatization, peace building, etc)

Develop networking and continue the process for the organisation of an Iraq Social Forum.

Velletri, March 30th 2009

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