Conference on “divercities – mixed cities and disputed areas: local approaches to federal democracy”

18 Dec, 2007 | Press Releases


No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the International Alliance for Justice (IAJ) are organising a Conference on “DiverCities – Mixed Cities and Disputed Areas: Local Approaches to Federal Democracy” in Venice, Italy, from 18‑22 December 2007.

The Conference will provide a forum within which senior Iraqi decision-makers can discuss specific policies which could support the managementof mixed areas and cities, like the city of Kirkuk, to provide for the concrete needs of diverse communities in their every-day lives, while still preserving and encouraging diversity.

Current Iraqi authorities have inherited a complex state of affairs, particularly in mixed areas or cities, such as Kirkuk, whose administrative attribution has yet to be settled. The Iraqi Constitution through its Article 140 sets out a framework within which the initial question of status was to be addressed and completed no later than 31 December 2007. Although it is clear at this stage that a delay to this deadline is inevitable, the framework foresees a so-called “normalisation” process, in which population will be returning to their area of origin, followed by a census and a referendum, in which residents will be asked to determine of which region or province their area should be part.

Both the “normalisation” process and the resolution of the issue of status are only one part of the overall picture. Regardless of the outcome, Iraq’s political and administrative authorities and civic and community leaders will still need to address the realities of living in mixed cities and provide for the needs of all its residents, including the provision of every-day public services and utilities.

To benefit from the experiences of other mixed cities and what has or has not worked in various contexts, the Conference provides for the exchange and sharing of experiences among Iraqi and non-Iraqi participants, promoting the knowledge and consolidation of practices that have been successfully applied elsewhere.

More than 40 high-level decision-makers from Iraq representing the leadership of all national, regional and local parties involved in the resolution of the matter of Kirkuk and other disputed areas will attend the Conference, including numerous Ministers and Members of Parliament at federal and regional level, Governors of disputed provinces, provincial councillors, political leaders, and the representatives of the relevant communities. Participants will also include experts from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, India, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Switzerland, as well as Ugo Intini, the Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gianludovico De Martino, Head of Italy’s Task Force Iraq, General Salvatore Carrara and Maurizio Melani, Italy’s Ambassador to Iraq.

The Conference is organised in the framework of NPWJ’s program supporting the federal process in Iraq and sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already achieved significant results with two seminars on “Practical Federalism In Iraq” in Venice on 18-25 July 2006 and in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Iraq, on 10-15 July 2007, and with the Conference on “The Role of the Second Chamber in Federal and Devolved Democracies” at the Italian Senate in Rome on 26‑27 September 2007, all organised by No Peace Without Justice and the International Alliance for Justice.

Members of the press wishing to arrange interviews with participants may contact: Nicola Giovannini, Brussels (phone: +32 486 78 31 93 – email:, Antonella Dentamaro, Rome (phone: +39 380 612 83 82 – email: or Roni Guetta, at the Conference Venue, in Lido di Venezia (+39 320 819 20 67).