CARE Says Priorities are Restoring Security and Sovereignty In Iraq

CARE
Wednesday, 22 October 2003

On the eve of the Donor Conference on Reconstruction in Iraq, CARE urges donors to prioritize restoring security and sovereignty to the Iraqi people.

The international humanitarian organization has been continuously operating in the center and south of the country since the beginning of the humanitarian crisis following the 1991 Gulf War and throughout the recent conflict. Based on this experience, CARE is presenting materials at the conference, including a report entitled "Key Messages" that makes recommendations for meeting principal reconstruction needs. Click here to download the full report.

The report stresses that security comes first of all. Basic services run a close second. Both are essential to progress toward reconstruction and the empowerment of Iraqis.

The report finds that security improved somewhat after the Iraqi police resumed activities, but the situation has not improved significantly. There is a widespread perception that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has failed to restore law and order and provide access to key services such as electricity, water and sanitation. A lack of services, combined with few jobs and a debilitated justice system, is contributing to the high levels of insecurity.

"Restoring law and order is a task best suited to civilian authorities," the report states. "This responsibility should be transferred to the Iraqi administration and supported with adequate resources. Training, capacity building, and the empowerment of Iraqi police, security forces and the judicial system must be priorities."

The report emphasizes that Iraqis themselves best understand their needs and advocates that they be given power and authority to make decisions as soon as possible.

"The CPA should fulfill its legal obligations to provide for the Iraqi people but should not exceed its authority by deciding economic policy, management of natural resources and political structures. These decisions are for a sovereign Iraqi government to make," says the report.

It is clear, however, that this transition cannot take place without support, resources, and transparency. The international community must make a long-term investment in building the capacity of the Iraqi people to participate in civic and political processes.

It can start by placing Iraqi voting members on the International Advisory and Monitoring Board of the Development Fund for Iraq and by making public the monies flowing to and from the fund, as required by UN resolution 1483.

The Board should have a clear plan to transfer its responsibilities to an elected Iraqi government. The CPA and the Interim Governing Council must communicate all plans and progress towards reconstruction and the transition to sovereignty openly and frequently with the Iraqi people.

For more information, or to contact CARE, see their website at: www.care.org

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