Cultural salon on “Together for a Better Future for the Orphans of Iraq”

Baghdad, 18 June 2011

On 18 June 2011, a cultural salon entitled “Together for a Better Future for the Orphans of Iraq” was organized with the aim to increase public and political attention on the situation of Iraqi children in general and the orphans and children with special needs in particular, and to foster the commitment of all government institutions, parliament, civil society, the private sector, religious and charities institutions and the international community to address their specific requirements in terms of education and health care.
Years of wars, policies of oppression and the dramatic transition from authoritarianism to democracy in the years following the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule have made Iraq the Republic of orphans, widows and persons with disabilities. Unfortunately so far no accurate population census has been made to determine precisely the total number of orphans or disabled persons, as well as the proportion and type of disability they suffer, but the initial estimations refer to their numbers in millions. Children with disabilities and orphans in Iraq are living in harsh and unstable conditions and still await a number of relevant laws, legislations and decisions that would facilitate their future and enable their integration in the society.
The meeting was attended by more than a hundred orphans from Baghdad representing the mixed and diverse ethnical and sectarian regions of Karkh, Rusafa and the rural Baghdadi, in addition to their families and their supervisors working in the Orphanages. Participants also included several civil society organizations competent in the service of orphans (Iraqi Foundation for the rise of the Orphan Child, Iraq Humanitarian Generations Foundation, Iraqi Woman and Future Organization, Iraqi Handicapped Assembly, Association of Audio-Visual Rescue for the Children in Iraq, Mercy Light Association for Human Rights, Association of the Deprived of Family Care in Iraq, Association of Lamps of Mercy to the victims of Terrorism), as well as a number of directors of orphanages, members of the Iraqi parliament from the Committee of Women, Family and the Child and other committees (Mrs. Intisar Al-Jubouri, Head of the Committee of Women, Family and Child at the Iraqi Parliament – Al-Iraqia Bloc; Mrs. Nada Al-Jubouri, Leader at the National Dialogue and a member of the External Relations Committee; Mrs. Nahida Al-Daini, from Al-Iraqia Bloc, Member of the Financial Committee; Dr. Adeela Ibrahim, National Alliance – Dawlat Al-Qanoun; Mrs. Basima Butros, Raporteur of the Parliament, Al-Rafidain Bloc – Christian Quota), ambassadors of several European countries, representatives of the diplomatic corps, the Danish Rotary Club in Iraq and the media.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of a number of recommendations, stressing the need for a comprehensive strategy involving all sectors of government and non-governmental organizations, particularly civil society, in cooperation with the international community, to address disabled children and orphans needs in terms of education, entertainment, administrative issues and health care in order for Iraq to abide to the respect of all provisions of the International Convention for the Rights of the Child.