The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) hosted today a meeting of civil society organizations to discuss measures aimed at strengthening the participation and representation of women in the electoral and political processes.
Nineteen representatives from civil society organizations and activists – women and men – participated in the forum. The need to have regular forums with civil society groups was highlighted during the global open day of the UN Security Council 1325 on women peace and security organised by UNAMI in October 2016.
In opening remarks, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq for Political and Electoral Affairs, Mr. György Busztin, welcomed the opportunity to have such a productive discussion.
“There is a need for the political actors and decision-makers to further define and adopt appropriate measures to increase representation of women at all levels of government, including in legislative, executive and judicial bodies, in close consultation with and active participation of civil society organizations and women activists,” Mr. Busztin emphasized.
“It is vital that the participation of women in the upcoming elections as voters, candidates, election observers and so forth is enhanced”, he added.
Participants recognized the critical role of the participation of women in elections as candidates and the advancement of women in all spheres of public life.
They also acknowledged that there was a regress in the participation of women, and more efforts were needed to bring about a change in negative attitudes and norms to recognize the positive role women can play in decision-making positions and provide opportunities for women to participate equally with men in pursuing peace and security in Iraq through political processes.
Several concrete recommendations were put forward, including on further increasing women representation pursuant to constitutional provisions, adopting measures, including in the electoral framework that encourage political parties to integrate women in elective public positions, for addressing barriers and difficulties women face during the electoral process.
Participants further called for increasing their representation at the IHEC as well as in facilitating a more meaningful participation of women elected to the Council of Representatives and the Provincial and District Councils.
UNAMI’s Principal Electoral Adviser, Mr. Aamir Arain, thanked the participants for coming forward with a very concrete set of recommendations which can be brought to the attention of the committees in the Council of Representatives, wherein UNAMI has been invited to participate, as they deliberate on various electoral reform proposals.