The UNAMI Human Rights Office (HRO) held the second in a series of two workshops in Najaf on 19-20 March to build and strengthen the capacity of 30 civil society organizations (CSOs) from Najaf and Diwaniya governorates to conduct human rights monitoring in their respective locations. Funded through UNAMI’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme, the workshop was organized in collaboration with the Cultural Humanitarian Iraq of Future Organization (CHIFO), a Najaf-based CSO.
HRO staff members and a representative from the Ministry of Human Rights presented topics such as “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”, “Monitoring of Prisons and Detention Centers”,” Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, “Basic Concepts in the Administration of Justice and Monitoring Trials” and “Basic Concepts in Transitional Justice in Iraqi Context”, and feedback from participants indicated that there is a growing interest among civil society organizations to learn more about human rights issues.
HRO also visited the University of Kufa on 20 March and held a meeting with the President and deans of different faculties of the university to gain insights into how the graduate-level curriculum incorporates human rights topics. The Faculty of Arts’ Civil Society Section is the only one of its kind in Iraq and attracts an increasing number of students every year who go on to work with CSOs after graduation.
The President of the university reported that human rights have been introduced into syllabuses throughout the Faculty of Arts and highlighted the need to train faculty members to improve their knowledge and capacity to teach on the issue. HRO stressed the importance of an organized and active civil society for progress and the development of the community, and welcomed the idea of collaborating with the Civil Society Section in the future.