Wanted: good governance - protection of minorities and human rights in Northern Iraq

Wanted: good governance - protection of minorities and human rights in Northern Iraq

Dealing with the aftermath of the current situation in northern Iraq requires a a mid-and a long-term strategy. Both have to recognize limitations that are due to the cyclical re-occurence of conflict and that mirror specific historical and socio-political circumstances. The success of mid-term strategies to tackle the stream of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) will depend in large part on the convincing development of long-term positive scenarios for the future of Iraq, introducing noticeable political and socio-economic change.

In the mid-term, promoting good governance practices, the protection of human rights, integration of refugees and ethnoreligious minorities with aid projects that benefit both the displaced and host communities ought to be rewarded. In the long-term, a sustainable conflict resolution as well as a solution for the withdrawal of international actors must be found even if the current political realities and military strategies in the country impede this and increase the need for external aid.

Recommendations:

  • create inclusive economic incentives - camps can only be a strictly short-term solution. In the mid-term, cash-for-rent schemes under the roof of an international organisation such as the United Nations are necessary. Add rent subsidies from the beginning and combine vocational training, higher education and cash-for-work schemes in parallel to create inclusive economic incentives in the long run
  • promote small- and medium-sized enterprises with a conflict-sensitiveapproach - connect profound conflict and market analyses to (re-)build sustainable livelihood activities and markets. Rather than returning to an inefficient economic system, small- and medium-sized enterprises ought to be promoted
  • apply a needs-based community approach that addresses IDPs, refugees and hosts alike - foster local integration and reintegration policies of regional governments by creating the necessary additional infrastructure (housing/education/health) in destination communities as a compensation for the solidarity of hosting populations rather than increasing social tensions by targeting specific groups—such as vulnerable persons
  • link the protection of human rights with the delivery of assistance - reward minority/human rights guarantees, (re-) integration projects and good government practice by making them a prerequisite for assistance
  • foster reconciliation activities between host communities and the displaced - frame all activities with inter-community trust-building activities intended to foster reconciliation.Infrastructure projects should create spaces that connect hosts and displaced persons while respecting traditional structures of ethno-religious co-existence amongst different communities
  • make psychosocial support mandatory - Traumata are prevalent and have to be addressed in all projects by providing respective psychosocial support.
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