Enable Inter-community Localized Agreements, in order to Solve Conflicts and Support the Return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
From unaddressed historical conflicts to the consequences of ISIS, Iraq still witnesses significant inter-community tensions between certain ethno-religious groups coexisting in the country in addition to intra-community conflicts. They may be caused by a broad range of different issues and can be addressed through various approaches; based on the nature of the conflict, a different approach may be required. PPO has been supporting local communities to reach a consensus through dialogue after a thorough analysis of the situation is conducted, and develop an agreement to which they commit in order to materialize the results of the dialogue.
Commissioned by GIZ, PPO consultants participated in the implementation of an initiative to address tensions between Kurdish and Arab tribes from the sub-district of Zummar in the Nineveh province. After various key actors were individually consulted and the conflict analyzed, both parties were separately convened to discuss their issues and agree on what was acceptable to them and what would be the terms of an agreement with the other party. Then, their inputs were consolidated into a document aiming to pave the way for their future collaboration and a joint session was organized to review the terms of the agreement and agree on its final version before announcing it publicly. All key tribal leaders of Zummar sub-district signed the Covenant for Peaceful Coexistence and Support to the Rule of Law through which they committed to use dialogue to settle their differences, in order to foster peaceful coexistence in their area and facilitate the return of Zummar original inhabitants who remain displaced as a consequence of the conflict against ISIS. These efforts were closely coordinated with those of other actors to ensure efforts are streamlined, complementary and built upon by other actors.
In addition, PPO is also exploring with IOM the potential use of localized agreements to facilitate the return of Eyzidi IDPs, as the latter paid a heavy price during ISIS occupation and many still live in humanitarian camps. The massacres suffered by Eyzidis led many of them to flee their homes and seek refuge inside and outside Iraq. These events have created distrust towards certain communities who Eyzidis believe to have collaborated with ISIS, and almost three years after Iraq was militarily liberated from ISIS these tensions stand as a major obstacle for Eyzidis to return to their homes in Northern Iraq. Therefore, PPO has been assessing the various local conflicts in Northern Iraq involving the Eyzidi community to develop a roadmap to address them and has also been studying the barriers to return to specific Eyzidi-populated areas with a focus on the Northern part of Baaj district. PPO will be initiating dialogues gathering key stakeholders from this region, in order to enable the safe and voluntary return of IDPs.
Currently, a number of issues could potentially be addressed through similar approaches, with objectives such as inter-community reconciliation, conflict resolution, fostering the rule of law or supporting the return of IDPs. Consequently, PPO and IOM intend to develop a strategy that favors the development and implementation of inclusive agreements to resolve conflicts as a sustainable, participative, and effective way to address community issues.