Meeting SummaryThe meeting between the Committee and the Iraqi delegation discussed what the delegation hoped to learn from the South African government. The Iraqi Ambassador spoke broadly in terms of government structure and getting a better understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation processes that
The Committee noted surprise at the lack of women in the Iraqi delegation, and hoped the next time the two parties met, more women would be in attendance. They wished
The Chairperson welcoming everyone and asked all people in attendance to introduce themselves, hoping that everyone would feel more comfortable knowing to whom they were speaking.
The Chair explained that the Committee’s role was to exercise oversight over the Executive and other bodies on matters to do with women, children, and people with disabilities. The Committee worked to monitor, advocate, and coordinate government departments on issues pertaining to women, children, and people with disabilities, but did not directly deliver any services themselves.
The Committee’s second role was to facilitate legislation and make sure these target groups were prioritised and considered in all pieces of legislation and ensure the needs of these communities were mainstreamed, cutting across all departments. The Committee had also to ensure that legislation complies with international instruments, and created opportunities for public participation. Before handing the floor over to the Iraqi delegation, the Chair noted that their delegation was male dominated, saying she hoped in the future, the Committee would see more females.
Dr Hishman Al-Alwai, Ambassador at the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Pretoria, thanked the Chairperson for her introduction, and said the delegation was excited to be there, and looked forward to the meeting since the delegation thought Iraq and South Africa shared commonalities on the issues of women, children, and people with disabilities that the two groups could engage with. He had been in
Ambassador Al-Alwai knew certain areas had great potential for interaction in working with
There were many opportunities for South African businesses to engage with
There were other areas that the delegation believed the two nations could work on such as collaborating on energy. Iraqi oil production had increased, and production capacity would continue to increase, which would make
When it came to women, children, and people with special needs, it was important to note that because of recent history, Iraqi society had a large population of people needing special attention, and thought it would be interesting to explore the South African experience. In addition to legislation, the delegation was interested in understanding how the Committee engaged with other departments to ensure women, children, and people with disabilities were cared for.
Ambassador Al-Alawi noted women empowerment in
The Chair asked the Iraqi delegation to proceed with any questions they had.
Mr Qays Shadhar Khanees Al Juboor, Member of Iraqi Parliament, said the visit was important for the members of the Iraqi National Reconciliation Committee and the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Committee as it was essential to be informed about the South African experience of achieving national reconciliation. Today was their first meeting with South African parliamentarians and the Iraqi government was interested to learn about the role of women in
Mr Wathab Shaker, Chairman of Iraq’s National Reconciliation Committee, thanked the Committee for having them and the IOM for arranging the meeting. He explained that their delegation was more men, as the men dealt with the “tough” issues such as disagreements amongst political parties. The delegation had to solve internal disputes, and the first to be affected by this were the women and children in
One member of the Iraqi delegation who was part of DDR, involved with the disarmament and reintegration of armed groups, said there were a great number of these groups which needed to be reintegrated into civilian life, and reconciliation was part of this process. The trip to
The Chair thanked everyone for sharing their experiences and noted that
In Parliament, they were lucky to have had as first President, Nelson Mandela. As most people knew, Mr Mandela said he was an accessible leader, and enabled the people allowing for everyone’s access to the executive. The South African Parliament was comprised of roughly 400 members with roughly 46% being women. There were more than 40% women in the Cabinet. Currently
Dr Al-Alawi asked if the Committee would speak about the projects they were involved in, and about their achievements in developing opportunities for these target groups.
The Chair said she would allow Ms Kashifa Abrahams, Committee Researcher, to answer the question.
Ms Abrahams said the mandate of the Committee was very broad, as it had several target groups. To assist the Committee, researchers opted to look at a themed approach for every year to better look at the issues that were integrated. In 2009, the Committee had held public hearings to look at legislation on domestic violence and to examine the impact of that legislation over the past 11 years to see if this law had made a difference. Civil society had had an opportunity to speak about their experiences. The Executive could listen to civil society identifying where there were gaps and challenges in what government was doing to address domestic violence.
A member of the Iraqi delegation asked when new legislation was needed, who was responsible for issuing that legislation, and how long did it took for it to be drafted.
Ambassador Al-Alawi added more specifically, what was the process for enacting legislation in addressing those gaps?
The Chair said legislation would move through the normal legislation process and the length of processing time depended on many factors, as it was not a simple process. She noted the back and forth process between the two houses of Parliament, noting the NCOP need to take the legislation to the people in the provinces.
Ambassador Al-Alawi asked if the Executive was always involved in the creation of the bill.
The Chairwomen confirmed that the Executive was involved.
Ms Fatimah Ali Mahdi, of the Disarmament Department, thanked the Committee for having them, and said that Iraqi women have gone through tough conditions in the past three decades, noting that women bore all the household and social responsibilities at that time. Throughout the previous decades, women had been playing a crucial role in society. She noted there were many widows and likewise many women who work towards helping others in society, without the assistance of the government.
The Chairperson commented that it had not been easy for women to be recognised anywhere in the world. It was not easy as the oppression of women started at home, continued at work, and oppression was always there for them as people. She called this a “triple oppression” and that the emancipation of women continued, even today.
Ms Mahdi wondered if the Committee could share programmes the Committee had been involved in to help women in
The Chair responded that the number of women in Parliament and government alone was an achievement. The Committee fought for each woman to be there and to have women, children, and people with disabilities taken seriously. That Committee had to fight to have the Women, Children, and People with Disabilities Ministry established. Today, there were free basic services offered to women such as access to health care and water.
Ms Luz Tantaruna, IOM Community Revitalisation Programme Manager, was introduced to the Committee and the Iraqi delegation.
Ms Tantaruna said she was more familiar with
Mr Al Juboor said he wanted to point out that there was a Ministry for Women’s Affairs in
The Chairperson asked that the delegation leave a contact for SA’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
Ambassador Al-Alawi said that there was an emergence of democracy in the region and spoke about the positive changes that had occurred.
The Chair said the Committee had learned a lot from the delegation, and they hoped to see the Iraqi government move forward, and wished them well in the difficult process of reconciliation. The Committee appreciated the fact that
Ambassador Al-Alawi said that their sisters in
The Chairperson said the Committee would like to return the visit.
She adjourned the meeting.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting