See Foreign Office Forum Speeches

Here are youtube videos of keynote speeches at the first Partnership with Iraq, Forum on Human Rights Support was held at the FCO on 16 December 2008. It brought together representatives of the Iraqi, UK and other foreign governments, along with NGOs, civil society groups and international organisations. They discussed the human rights issues facing Iraq now and of concern for the future. The Forum plans to meet again in 2009 to look at how to take forward the issues raised.

Pause for thought

In a letter to the Guardian, Rev David Williams makes a pertinent and pithy point. He writes – Sam Leith (Letters, 18 December) likens George Bush to Saddam Hussein as someone who “buggered up Iraq”. But nobody ever interrupted a Saddam Hussein speech by throwing shoes. I wonder why? Happy Christmas and a peaceful new year from LFIQ

Challenges facing Iraq

In the Guardian, Martin Chulov examines some key challenges facing Iraq in 2009 including the return of exiles. He says – Up to 2 million Iraqis are still scattered across the Arab world and Europe. And among them are up to 200,000 professionals who hold the key to whether a country that lost the lot can start again from scratch.

Forum could increase dialogue and understanding

The Foreign Office this week hosted a very useful Forum on human rights and partnership in Iraq. With the news that British combat troops are returning home in the next few months, we are moving into a new phase of relations between our countries. We hope that the bitterness and division over the intervention and the role of our troops can be replaced, not by indifference, but by engagement and a focus on how Britain can assist Iraqis in reconstructing their country. LFIQ continues to emphasise the need for increased investment, trade and other exchanges with Iraq to help them … Continue reading Forum could increase dialogue and understanding

A female perspective on trade unionism in Iraq

See this fascinating interview at the International Trade Union Confederation website with Iraqi Kurdish trade unionist Jehan Seleem Ahmed from Dohuk. She underlines how the image of trade unions has improved in the eyes of the young women workers in the region. She says that there is a good level of education in Kurdistan and it is not too difficult to convince women to join a union. There are other regions in Iraq where it would be unthinkable for a man to let his wife take part in a seminar abroad. Here, mentalities are evolving.

Solidarity still needed

The New York Times splashes on an unpublished federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq which, it says, depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure. My view is that this illustrates the need for those who are concerned to help Iraqis rebuild their country after so many decades of destruction, war and isolation increasing their efforts in co-operation with civil … Continue reading Solidarity still needed