2014 Statement on Militarism & Extremism

At the 2014 International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) 3rd annual Forum on Women’s Rights, Peace and Security, 60 women representing 13 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia – including scholars, journalists, NGO leaders, educators and others – came together with international partners to take stock of developments and strategize ideas and solutions for combating extremism and militarism and promoting peace. Together they adopted a common statement and devised national vision and priorities for their respective countries.

Read the Kurdish Regional Statement

Security, Religion & Gender in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq:
A focus group-based analysis

August, 2014

Almost eleven years have passed since the US toppled Saddam Hussain’s regime, and Iraq still continues to struggle. In December 2013, Iraq national security forces stormed the private residence of the Iraqi Finance Minister, arresting several of his staff for supporting terrorism. This incident served as a trigger for sectarian violence throughout the Sunni triangle in southern Iraq – Al-Anbar Province. It was one of the areas that led peaceful demonstrations on February 2011, but subsequently witnessed the highest amount of sectarian violence, including government security force attacks on civilians.

The following is a summary of a study of the conflict in Al-Anbar province.  The findings may provide insight into the recent developments in Iraq, including explanations for the advancement of ISIS.  Several key issues contributing to and sustaining conflict were identified through this research, as were points of entry for peace building which can be capitalized on to reduce tensions. Key themes include:

  • Political & sectarian tensions
  • Sense of citizenship
  • Culture of dialogue
  • International Community
  • Rule of law & structural violence
  • Armed groups
  • Youth
  • Gender & rights
  • Recommendations for action

Picking up the Pieces: Iraqi Women in the Aftermath of War and Occupation

Winter, 2013

The 6th brief in ICAN’s “What the Women Say” series highlights the perspectives of Iraqi women, particularly civil society and peace activists, regarding the losses and gains during the US intervention, the evolving trends and the opportunities and difficulties they face. It offers recommendations to national and international actors on how best to support their efforts to attain and sustain a just peace.

  1. The Security Context: Extremism on the Rise
  2. Justice and National Reconciliation
  3. Political and Legal Context: Women’s Gain’s and Losses
  4. International Community and Commitments: Perceptions on Iraqi Women’s Rights Activists

Read the full brief here: Picking Up the Pieces: Iraqi Women in the Aftermath of War and Occupation


Ala Ali

Ala Ali has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Al-Amal Association since 2009. Founded in 1992, Al-Amal is a leading, non-political, non-sectarian and non-profit association of volunteers, actively engaged in improving human rights, education, health and addressing gender, youth issues working with people across the country, regardless of their race, gender and political or religious affiliation. Ms. Ali joined Al-Amal in 1995. She has extensive experience as trainer, program manager and expert in governance and peace-building issues. Throughout her career she has worked with a number of national and international organizations including UNDP’s peace-building program (2010-till now), the Institute of International Education’s Women in Technology (WIT) initiative and IREX’s E-Governance and collaborative governance program. Ms. Ala was also Iraq Programme Coordinator for the Olaf Palme International Centre; Gender focal point for UN Habitat; Senior Regional Programme Officer for the International Foundation for Election System and Executive Manager of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association. She holds a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering and has specialized in Business Administration through an MBA Programme. She is currently studying for her Masters in Conflict Transformation at the Eastern Mennonite University.

Al-Amal Association

Iraqi Al-Amal Association is a non-political, non-sectarian and non profit association of volunteers actively engaged in projects for the benefit and well being of the Iraqi population regardless of race, gender and political or religious affiliation. Al-Amal was established in 1992 in the midst of the horrific conditions prevailing after the Second Gulf War with the aim of providing aid to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people and to establish a just and democratic society for Arabs, Kurds and other nationalities in Iraq. Al-Amal started its work in Iraqi Kurdistan where many programmes and projects were executed.

In May 2003, the head office of Al-Amal was opened in Baghdad. Its activities and services are now provided throughout Iraq with the aim of rehabilitating the people and influencing the social consciousness towards the creation of a modern civil society. The programmes are aimed at combating all forms of violence and discrimination, the promotion of the culture of human rights, human security, gender and social peace, the carrying-out of income-generating projects as well as providing psychosocial and legal assistance and training courses for a variety of sectors of women, children and youth so that they can participate efficiently in public life. Al-Amal also advocates law reform, along with the rehabilitation of workers in police and judicial fields, with the aim of securing the supremacy of law and justice in society.

All projects are based on needs assessment studies and, although initially financed by funding organisations, the projects are continued on self-financing basis wherever possible. Al-Amal has established a multi-layer control and monitoring procedure in order to maintain a proper accountability and transparency at all levels of management.


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