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Syria: Protecting mosaics and artefacts as a way to rebuild social cohesion.

Syria: Protecting mosaics and artefacts as a way to rebuild social cohesion.

Since May 2023, Fight for Humanity, with the support of the ALIPH Foundation and in partnership with its local partner, Orient Association, has been working to protect 200 valuable mosaic panels in Raqqa and to document thousands of artefacts in Manbij with the objective to promote this invaluable heritage for peace and reconciliation.   The team started with the securitization of a warehouse that hosts around 200 mosaic panels near Raqqa. Before the war, this warehouse used to host thousands of artefacts, that were all stolen with the exception of these 200 mosaic panels, some of which were vandalized . After these emergency measures the team took conservation measures: they were identified and placed in 5 allocated areas and were then distributed based on their place of discovery. Once the sorting and extraction were complete, the panels were photographed, and the scenes depicted were studied and described. Data specific to each panel, including measurements, the overall condition, were also recorded. In addition, the team documented more than 800 artefacts from Menbij since last August. Some of the artefacts were confiscated and secured by the SDF and some others were found by people coincidentally and then handed over to the administration. These documentations provide a better understanding and the preservation of the cultural and historical significance they hold. Moreover, the Orient Association conducted 10 dissemination sessions for the security forces, that focused on strategies to combat illicit trafficking and protection of cultural heritage. In the recent week, as part of our commitment to the project's continued success, Fight for Humanity retained an external consultant to evaluate the progress achieved over the last three years. The monitoring visit was concluded in October.

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Geneva Peace Week  : Engaging Armed Groups on Environmental Protection and Climate Change

Geneva Peace Week : Engaging Armed Groups on Environmental Protection and Climate Change

On 31 October, Fi ght for Humanity intervened on a panel on “Engaging Armed Groups on Environmental Protection and Climate Change” during the Geneva Peace Week .  A group of experts, including Anastasia Isyuk, Operations Manager for Climate and Environment at the International Committee of the Red Cross; Anki Sjöberg, Co-Director at Fight For Humanity; Leigh Mayhew, Research Officer at ODI and Pascal Bongard, Co-Director at the Centre on Armed Groups explored ways for involving armed groups in tackling climate change and environmental issues. Non-state armed groups, with their significant influence and presence in conflict zones, can disrupt environmental sustainability with the use of certain weapons, destruction of natural sites and exacerbate climate change impacts.   On the other hand they can also have a protective role to play . Due to their (political and economic) isolation, they tend to be aware of the limited and finite resources at their disposal. Hence, some groups have taken it upon themselves to develop their own protective measures. For example, setting up specific institutions to deal with environmental issues and regulating finite resources such as fish, game, water, forest, etc.   As Anki Sjöberg mentioned : “ understanding the role that NSAGs are already playing in environmental protection, for better or worse, can help us foresee and mitigate additional or increased environmental deterioration after the end of conflict. We must understand that NSAGs can have simultaneous negative and positive impacts on the environment, as seen with the FARC in Colombia. Failure to do so may cost us—and the environment—dearly in the future.”    The event was organized by the Center on Armed groups and featured speakers from the International Committee of the Red Cross, ODI, and the Center on Armed groups.

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New project phase: The role of armed and political movements in women’s protection and participation

New project phase: The role of armed and political movements in women’s protection and participation

Fight for Humanity jointly with the Berghof Foundation have initiated a new project phase in Myanmar, Yemen and at a global level, in their efforts to support the protection of women during conflict and increase their participation in peacebuilding efforts in areas under the control of armed movements. This phase follows a first pilot project in Myanmar . With this new phase, the organizations facilitated dialogues with two ethnic resistance organizations (EROs) in Myanmar on their policies and practices related to the protection of women in the conflict and their participation in peacebuilding , following-up on recommendations from the previous project cycle. Participants of these dialogue sessions are women and men who are part of or live in areas influenced by the two EROs. In Yemen, a country hardly hit by armed conflict, participatory action research with three armed and political movements from northern and southern Yemen is currently undertaken to understand the factors that can encourage them to promote the protection and participation rights of women and girls. “The participation of women in peacebuilding is essential to build a lasting peace, as emerging research shows. But to be able to participate in this process, they need to be better protected during the conflict” says Anki Sjoeberg, Fight for Humanity’s Co-Director. In September, the two organizations also conducted a Global Workshop on Women Peace and Security with key stakeholders and representatives of Governments to discuss how to better enable the international policy community to support the implementation of the Women Peace and Security Agenda in conflict affected areas where armed and political movements hold large territories or political power.

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Colombia: Telling the truth about the conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace.

Colombia: Telling the truth about the conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace.

In May 2023, Fight for Humanity and its partner Gestos de Paz started a project to raise awareness and build ownership of the recommendations from the Truth Commission report  in two municipalities of the Cauca department in Colombia, Cajibio and Popayan that have been severely affected by the conflict. In the two municipalities, Gestos de Paz organized two events in July and August gathering more than 212 participants including politicians, leaders from social movements, indigenous peoples, women, youth, medias, ex-combatants. These events, called “Dialogues for the ownership of truth and the construction of peace,” focused on four chapters of the Truth Commission report:  The historical narrative of the conflict, women’s rights, children rights, and the recommendations to avoid repetition of violence. “Many people, out of fear, do not tell the truth, said one participant but as another participant declared: “truth is essential to not repeat history.” In many rural areas affected by conflict, the Truth Commission and its final report remain unknown. According to Mabel Andrade from Gestos de Paz, “Despite the signature of the Peace Agreement in 2016, armed violence is still ongoing in many parts of the country, including here in Cauca. We need to keep working to raise awareness on the realities of the conflict to avoid repetition.” In addition to these dialogues, a meeting with the candidates for the position of regional Governor took place in September in which they were asked to explain their views on how to better implement the recommendations of the Truth Commission. “It is important that politicians commit to these recommendations, we cannot lose another generation to a new cycle of violence” says a leader from the municipality of Cajibio. The Truth Commission is one of the three institutions that make up the Colombian Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition created under the 2016 peace agreement. It has worked to shed light on five decades of atrocities and human rights violations committed during the country’s armed conflict and through its report, it promotes recommendations to avoid repetition of the conflict.

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Event: Telling the truth: Creating the conditions for a lasting peace in Colombia

Event: Telling the truth: Creating the conditions for a lasting peace in Colombia

INVITATION Telling the truth: Creating the conditions for a lasting peace in Colombia 10 October 15:00 to 16:00 CET – Palais des Nations in Geneva - Room XXV & online Side event at the 54th session of the Human Rights Council The event co-sponsors, Ireland, Colombia and Fight for Humanity are pleased to invite you to a panel discussion to reflect on the concrete challenges to the implementation of the Truth Commission’s recommendations in Colombia and explore possible ways of overcoming them. The event will be in English and Spanish. On 13th July 2023, the Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted Resolution A/HRC/53/L.25/Rev.1 on the enhancement of technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights in Colombia to implement the recommendations of the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition, reflecting the need to strengthen the implementation of these recommendations. Since May 2023, Fight for Humanity and its partner, Gestos de Paz, have implemented a project, with the support of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, to facilitate the appropriation of these recommendations in two municipalities of Cauca in Colombia, Popayan and Cajibío. These two municipalities are located in areas severely affected by the conflict. Agenda and speakers Introduction: H.E. Mr Gustavo Gallón, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Colombia · Martín Nates, Director of the NGO Justapaz · Mabel Andrade, Founder of the NGO Gestos de Paz, online · Francisco de Roux, former President of the Truth Commission, online Conclusion : Ms. Eimear McDermott, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Ireland Q&A session To join through Webex: https://ungeneva-vc.webex.com/ungeneva-vc/j.php?MTID=mb6c99c8d01dcb12a0cf94df07be88b10 Meeting number: 2740 685 3186 Password: HVpKqH2mp47 Join by video system, Dial 27406853186@ungeneva-vc.webex.com

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Annual Report 2022: continuing the fight for Human Rights

Annual Report 2022: continuing the fight for Human Rights

Fight for Humanity is pleased to release its 2022 Annual Report. In 2022, Fight for Humanity and its partners: Conducted a research study on the protection and participation of women in conflict zones in Myanmar. Provided support to 650 children in detention in Syria. Contributed to the promotion of greater social cohesion between ethno-religious communities in Northern Iraq, including the Mosul area. Led initiatives to end the recruitment of children in Syria. Promoted the protection of cultural heritage in Syria as a means of fostering peaceful coexistence among communities. Supported a demining organization in Senegal with their conflict analysis. Supported other like-minded organizations in their endeavors. In 2023, we have been operating in Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Myanmar, and Yemen. 2023 will conclude the cycle of our first strategic plan, which was defined in 2019. This plan aimed to develop Fight for Humanity into an organization capable of making a positive difference for populations living in areas of armed conflict. While not all objectives have been fully achieved, the organization has experienced four years of positive development, despite the challenges of two years of global pandemics. With a new strategy cycle beginning in 2024, the organization aims to continue promoting human rights, primarily in areas under the control or influence of non-state armed actors, particularly those that are crucial for building lasting peace: children's and women's rights, cultural rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection. We hope you will enjoy reading this Annual Report , and we would like to express our gratitude to our donors, supporters, and partners who make our work possible. You can download our 2022 Annual Report and Audit Report below:

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Iraq: Signature of 10 local peace agreements in Ninevah and Kirkuk governorates

Iraq: Signature of 10 local peace agreements in Ninevah and Kirkuk governorates

In the first three months of 2023 ten local peace agreements were signed within the framework of the project “Empowerment and Engagement of Community Mechanisms with Local Authorities to Promote Social Cohesion”. In this project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of the Netherlands, a consortium of three partner organizations, Public Aid Organization (PAO), the Alliance of Iraqi Minorities (AIM), and Fight for Humanity have worked together to empower and engage local authorities and communities to promote social cohesion between different ethno-religious communities. The project was initiated in 2022 and focused on twelve locations in the Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates in Northern Iraq. The consortium first worked to build the capacity of local authorities, police and security personnel, community and tribal members and leaders, elders and clerics on conflict analysis, positive peacebuilding, dialogue, and mediation. Following dialogue and mediation sessions, the project also led to the signature of ten local peace agreements in ten locations, namely, Baaj, Bashiqa, Hamdaniya, Hatra, Haweja, Mosul, Snuni and Talkif. These agreements seek to identify principles and mechanisms that will help to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. In each location, the community, government, religious and tribal representatives identified local problems or conflicts that concerned the various parties, and through dialogue and mediation sessions, they came up with common solutions and principles to address them. These principles and solutions were formalized in a local peace agreement that was signed by the representatives during official ceremonies in the ten locations. Issues such as the return of families associated with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the improvement of social cohesion, the rules and principles to form new administrative units or the prevention of hate speech and violent extremism were addressed. The consortium hopes that these local peace agreements can serve as an example of concrete action that can support social cohesion in post conflict areas.

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Policy Brief: The Role of Armed & Political Movements in Implementing the WPS Agenda

Policy Brief: The Role of Armed & Political Movements in Implementing the WPS Agenda

Fight for Humanity and Berghof Foundation are pleased to announce the release of the policy brief : "Opportunities and Challenges for the Implementation of the Women, Peace & Security Agenda in Areas Controlled by Armed and Political Movements". It follows the publication of the research report that analyses the practices, policies, and challenges of two Ethnic Resistance Organisations (EROs) from Myanmar on women’s protection in conflict and their participation in the EROs and in peace building processes. Over the course of 6 months, the research team conducted 47 interviews with the leaders of the two movements – the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Karen National Union (KNU) - but also associated civil society organisations, women activists, as well as external stakeholders. A video, “ Women on the Margins ” was also prepared following these interviews. “Ethnic resistance organisations like the KNPP and the KNU have a key role to play in improving the protection of women in the current conflict in Myanmar . This will only be possible if more women have access to key and leadership roles within the movements themselves. But there needs to be a better understanding that women’s protection is a joint responsibility between both men and women”, says Anki Sjöberg, Fight for Humanity’s Co-Director and co-author of the research. The research offers a set of recommendations for the international community and for the leaders of the two movements. While recognizing the efforts made, it highlights the necessity of encouraging inclusive discussion among conservative members to change their perceptions of women. It also stresses the importance for the EROs to further develop and implement policies on Women, Peace, and Security, with a particular emphasis on policies and measures related to protection. The project team shared the research findings with the two movements who expressed their support to its main recommendations. “In the end, the two EROs have been vocal in recognizing the importance to progress in making women more present at the highest levels of the movement” says Boke Boke, lead author of the research. “This is very positive, and we hope the research will be a strong push to make a difference for women in the conflict.” The methodology was also key in the success of this research: “We worked with two insider experts who are close to the two movements, they participated in each stage of the research, design, collection of data and analysis. It helped to build trust with the EROs, to collect the relevant information and to have a deep understanding of the movements’ internal dynamics when analysing the data. ” says Veronique Dudouet, Senior Research Adviser at Berghof Foundation. Fight for Humanity and Berghof Foundation will launch a new project in 2023 to support the implementation of the recommendations with the EROs in Myanmar. It will also extend the research to other armed and political movements in Yemen and the global context. Download the Research Report in English here and in Burmese here . Download the Policy Brief in English here and in Burmese here . Watch the video here . This project is supported by German Federal Foreign Office

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Online Event - No Participation without Protection

Online Event - No Participation without Protection

Women’s rights in areas controlled by armed and political movements >> Register for the event Online Event | No participation without protection:
Women’s rights in areas controlled by armed and political movements When: Thursday, 8 December 2022 at 13:00-14:15 CET Where: Online event via Zoom *This event will be held in English, Arabic and Burmese, with simultaneous translations. About the Event This event presents recent findings of a pilot study conducted by the Fight for Humanity and Berghof Foundation , with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, on the role of armed political movements in Myanmar in the implementation of the agenda on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The findings show that these movements and women’s groups associated with them do indeed engage with the spirit of the WPS agenda, specifically regarding women and girls’ participation and protection, but that they also face various challenges related to limited resources, knowledge and technical expertise. In a panel discussion, we intend to inquire about the progress, difficulties and prospects of women and girls in areas under the control of armed and political movements, and what potential roles these actors can play in the implementation of the WPS agenda. The discussion will be complemented by the comparative perspective of a Yemeni women’s rights advocate. Raising awareness on women’s rights in conflict areas two days before Human Rights Day, this event takes place in the spirit and framework of the UN’s 16 Days Activism Against Gender Based Violence . Event Speakers Beytul Gorkem - Head of Operations, Fight for Humanity Zin Mar Phyo ('Boke Boke’) - local consultant, researcher and journalist May Sabe Phyu - Kachin women’s rights activist Dr Najwa Fadhl - President advisor for women issues of the Southern Transitional Council (Yemen) Danielle Feldstein - Desk Officer for Women, Peace and Security, German Federal Foreign Office The event will be moderated by Véronique Dudouet - Senior Research Advisor, Conflict Transformation Research Department, Berghof Foundation. Additional Information This event is organised by Berghof Foundation and Fight for Humanity.
We are looking forward to involving you in this discussion. Event registration is mandatory.
To attend this event, please register below. You will be redirected to Eventbrite, and receive an email confirmation with further details about the event.

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Improving the situation of ISIS-related child detainees in Northeast Syria

Improving the situation of ISIS-related child detainees in Northeast Syria

In August 2022, Fight for Humanity completed a year-long project in partnership with Purity, Fight for Humanity’s local partner, and with the support of Medico International, to improve the detention conditions and advocate for the release of over 750 male adolescents in two detention centres in Northeast Syria. These children belong to families of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) living in camps. The children’s basic rights have been violated as local authorities laced them in detention as a preventative measure to maintain security in those camps. Fight for Humanity and its partners started with immediate measures to improve their living conditions: the delivery of aid, such as clothes and blankets for the winter, along with the provision of mobility aid and recreational materials . In parallel, to improve the treatment they receive, another of Fight for Humanity’s local partners, Right Defence Initiative (RDI), trained the detention centre’s guards and administrative staff on international standards that regulate the detention of children. The project team also started to provide basic education with a curriculum in Mathematics, Arabic, English, Art, life skills and recreational activities such as music, painting, or sports . These activities have kept the children occupied, stimulating, and preparing them for a future reintegration. However, their mental health has been severely affected by their life trajectory, so Fight for Humanity and its partner also initiated a programme to provide the children with psychosocial support . An individual assessment had been conducted in provision of a deeper and more customised support. The project team benefitted from the experience and coaching of another organisation - Heartland Alliance International (HAI)- that has conducted similar activities with detained children in Iraq. All these measures also aimed to avoid further radicalisation among the children and as Adnan Khalil, Purity’s Director, stressed, “the rehabilitation of detained children has a crucial role in the effectiveness of the reintegration into their societies”.    Finally, the project led several advocacy initiatives to find a solution for the children outside of the detention centre, whether it is repatriation to their home country - as dozens of them are foreigners - or reintegration into local communities . Fight for Humanity notably organised a webinar in December 2021, “ Detained Children from ISIS-Related Families: How to Best Protect their Rights in Northeast Syria ”, on the need for reintegration and repatriation of these children, and the challenges that come along with it.    In January 2022, a massive attack against one of the project’s targeting detention centres disrupted the project implementation and added to the children’s trauma. While this event was horrific, both the attack and Fight for Humanity’s project shed light on the inhumane situation of these children, leading more international organisations to act for them. With the support of Medico International and in collaboration with Purity, the project is now continuing with hope that durable and humane solutions can be found.

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Continuation of social media outreach campaign on the protection of children, schools & healthcare

Continuation of social media outreach campaign on the protection of children, schools & healthcare

Over the last two years, Fight for Humanity have conducted 4 awareness-raising campaigns in Northeast Syria , promoting the need to prevent child recruitment and to protect education and healthcare reaching more than 2 million people in the region online and offline through the distribution of posters, leaflets and booklets, and the dissemination of videos and key messages on social media.    Since late 2019, Fight for Humanity has been working in partnership with the United Nations to support the implementation of the Action Plan signed between the United Nations and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to prevent child recruitment and use in Northeast Syria.     These campaigns came to support Fight for Humanity’s training and advocacy efforts to end the recruitment of children below 18 in the region and to better protect education and healthcare so that children can have access to these basic services and enjoy a decent life, even in a situation of conflict.   The videos, mixing real footage and animations, have been widely disseminated and shared on social media and local TVs, raising awareness of the population but also of key political and armed actors on the importance to preserve the youth for the future of the region. One video was created on the prohibition to recruit children , one on the protection of education and one on the protection of healthcare . Fight for Humanity continues its advocacy efforts and regularly conduct monitoring visits. Despite improvement and measures taken by the SDF, cases of recruitment and use of children continue to be reported. Fight for Humanity with the support of the United Nations, continues to organize advocacy meeting and training with the concerned actors.

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Promoting Social Cohesion in Territories Affected by the Conflict with ISIS in Northern Iraq

Promoting Social Cohesion in Territories Affected by the Conflict with ISIS in Northern Iraq

In a project supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of the Netherlands, a consortium of three partner organizations, Public Aid Organization (PAO), the Alliance of Iraqi Minorities (AIM), and Fight for Humanity (Ffh) are working together to empower and engage local authorities and communities to promote social cohesion between different ethno-religious communities. Twelve locations in the Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates in Northern Iraq have been identified for the project. Sunnis, Yezidis, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Shabaks, Kakais, Shias, Christians – the Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates are home to a number of ethnoreligious groups. Following the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the level of distrust between communities has increased, and therefore essential to “rebuild the social fabric” in areas that were hit hard by the conflict such as Mosul. The consortium has worked to build the capacity of local authorities, police and security personnel and community members on conflict analysis, positive peacebuilding, dialogue, and mediation. Fight for Humanity participated in the elaboration of a training curriculum on how to build social cohesion with a human rights perspective . Fight for Humanity undertook training and mentoring with around 15 people who have become primary trainers and have already delivered dozens of training workshops, focus-group discussions, and mediation sessions for local authorities, civil society organizations and security forces. Through these sessions the consortium aims to help construct and improve social cohesion as well as developing local peace agreements in the target localities.

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