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Canada’s strategy for Iraq

Canada’s programming and engagement in Iraq are key components of Canada’s whole-of-government Middle East Strategy. Canada has committed ing over $4 billion over five years (2016-2022 ) to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria, and their impact in the region, in particular on Jordan and Lebanon.

The conflict against Daesh destroyed large areas of the country and left millions of Iraqi’s internally displaced. Many civilians remain displaced and there are significant economic, social, humanitarian, and governance-related challenges following the successful military campaign against Daesh.

To address the root causes and effects of the conflict, Canada is supporting five main strategic objectives:

Providing gender-responsive, needs-based humanitarian assistance to crises-affected populations

Canada is one of the top humanitarian donors to international efforts to address the crisis in Iraq.

Our flexible, multi-year approach to humanitarian assistance funding allows partners to better prepare and respond to the evolving situation in Iraq, where approximately 1.2 million people are internally displaced and 4.1million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, as of the end of 2020.

In Iraq, Canada’s gender-responsive humanitarian assistance works through experienced partners including UN agencies, non governmental organizations, and the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement to help vulnerable individuals to meet their basic needs and access social and public services. These include:

Our partners ensure the specific needs, priorities and capacities of vulnerable and marginalized people are integrated into the humanitarian response.

Addressing the root causes of conflict and radicalization by supporting improved governance with an increased role for women

Our development assistance aims to increase the capacity of Iraqi institutions in key areas to encourage inclusive governance and support women’s role in reconciliation, decision-making processes and equitable employment.

Canadian-funded programming is working with civil society organizations to promote the role of women and girls, including economic empowerment, at the local and institutional level. This increases policy makers’ awareness of gender gaps in existing policies and programs. It also helps build awareness of gender-based violence and other harmful practices against women and girls.

Canada supported Iraq in developing a five-year National Action Plan for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which aims to increase women’s economic participation from 19% to 24%.

Consolidating gains from the counter-Daesh military campaign by stabilizing areas liberated from Daesh

We are continuing to support stabilization efforts in areas liberated from Daesh that are helping make conditions safe for people to return home. Canada supports projects that help restore essential services and infrastructure, clear explosive hazards, build local capacity, and foster community reconciliation.

Canadian police officers are deployed in Iraq to support the Coalition’s efforts to enhance the professionalism, sustainability and self-sufficiency of Iraqi police services. We are increasing support for Women, Peace and Security initiatives to advance women’s engagement in decision-making processes and in the security sector, including as members of the Iraqi police service. A Canadian also holds the position of Chief Gender Advisor for the Coalition.

We support efforts to counter terrorism and to respond to the threat of chemical and biological weapons. This includes training to law enforcement officials in the rule of law and human rights standards, and the collection of digital evidence to investigate Daesh criminality and prosecute crimes under international law.

Training and building the capacity of Iraqi security forces

Our military contribution under Operation IMPACT involves the deployment of up to 850 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel to the region. Our forces:

Supporting Iraq’s unity, stability, diversity and democracy through diplomatic engagement and advocacy.

Our diplomats in Iraq are fully engaged on the promotion and protection of human rights, particularly for women and girls, protection of civilians and IDPs, and supporting reconciliation and accountability efforts.

We actively advocate for the protection of minority rights in Iraq, which has included recognition and support for Yazidi survivors of genocide. In June 2016, Canada formally declared that Daesh was committing genocide against the Yazidi minority and called on the UN Security Council to establish a mechanism to investigate crimes committed by Daesh. In 2019, the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh was established. In 2017, Canada resettled up to 1,200 survivors of Daesh violence, including vulnerable Yazidi women and girls. We have welcomed more than 1,400 survivors of Daesh. Of those who have arrived, more than 85% are Yazidis.

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