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Building Democracy in Iraq’ – Online Arabic translation of MRG’s report

9 July 2003

Based on in-depth interviews with internationally renowned experts in conflict prevention, transitional administration, human rights and constitutional law, the Minority Rights Group International report ‘Building Democracy in Iraq’ identifies the obstacles to an effective transition to democracy. MRG’s report highlights issues including the lack of political or civil organization in Iraq, the legacy of high dependence on the state bureaucracy, and the possibility of ethnic and religious tensions and revenge killings following the removal of the Iraqi regime.

The report reveals the potential for conflict inherent in many of the transition plans being considered, including division of the country into religious, ethnic or tribal cantons, crude forms of power-sharing which base political representation solely on ethnic/religious identity, as well as the establishment of a US ‘protectorate’ and the installation of an Iraqi general as President.

The report presents seven ground rules for preventing conflict and building inclusive democracy in Iraq, including:

  • The design of an electoral system which requires candidates for President or other federal office to gain support across the different communities and parts of Iraq
  • Special measures to counteract long-standing discrimination against the Shi’a and against the Kurds and other minorities, including promoting their participation in central as well as regional government and in public life
  • Consideration of a federal structure for Iraq, taking particular account of the long-standing aspirations of the Kurds for self-government
  • The deployment of human rights monitors across Iraq during the transitional phase
  • Implementation of a major programme to facilitate the voluntary return or resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons
  • The need for any external peace-keeping forces to have a clear UN mandate and be international in composition to ensure credibility and neutrality in the eyes of the Iraqi people.

Download the report in English and in Arabic.