Peacebuilding in northern Iraq

As Yazidi Nadia Murad receives the Nobel Peace Prize, in northern Iraq conflict training is improving understanding among different ethnic and faith communities.

Around 275,000 people in northern Iraq were displaced by the terror group Islamic State (IS). The Yazidi religious minority – to which the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad also belongs – was particularly badly affected, with their settlements systematically destroyed or occupied by IS fighters.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting reconstruction efforts in the region. Following the withdrawal of IS, GIZ is helping to improve understanding between ethnic groups and supporting measures that facilitate dialogue and conflict management.

In Nineveh Governorate, for example, GIZ is providing training to foster peaceful coexistence. The courses are attended by key figures from different religious groups and tribes and representatives of the local government, who then pass on their newfound knowledge within their communities. This means that conflicts can be spotted and resolved more quickly. The representatives of the various religions also produced joint guidelines outlining the principles for achieving peaceful interreligious coexistence. The plan is to integrate this into school lessons.

In addition, GIZ helps to create job prospects for internally displaced persons and local people in host communities. 27,000 households in need of support receive additional income through the Cash for Work programme. They carry out important jobs for the good of the community, such as renovating schools and maintaining parks, and are paid directly.

Nadia Murad and her non-governmental organisation are working to ensure that the crimes committed by IS are addressed. In cooperation with Civil Peace Service experts, GIZ is also supporting the process of documenting and coming to terms with IS crimes and searching for those who are still missing.

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