• Principles and Values of the Forum

last modified May 23, 2013 by ismaeel

We have all benefitted from the human experience and its continuous struggle for human freedom and dignity. This struggle has seen concrete victories on many levels, especially the recent experience of the World Social Forum where people can seek clear and concrete means to address their problems, benefitting from the rich experiences and valuable learning of people in other places. With its horizontal organizing frame, the “social forum” in each country, protects our independence and uniqueness but still allows us to unite our social movements. Through the Iraqi Social Forum we will become part of the civilized world that affects us, and vice versa. Our culture is a part of human culture, and we have a right to drink from its rich wealth, especially those human values embodied in the World Social Forum principles issued in 2001 Porto Alegre, Brazil, where they declared the World Social Forum to be an open place for meeting:

§ Think interactively and engage in a democratic dialogue of ideas.

§ Form proposals and freely exchange experiences.

§ Make links and partnerships for effective action.

§ Struggle for a more just world.

§ Establish fruitful relationships “human to human”, and between “humans and the earth”.

§ Fight against poverty, hunger and need.

§ Eliminate illiteracy and underdevelopment.

§ Address health needs and the provision of free medical care.

§ Promote the culture of humanity, with respect for unique cultural identities.

Based upon their participation in the World Social Forum, the Iraqis have identified the following shared aspirations and goals:

1. Participants in this Forum believe that Iraq should be a civil, democratic, federal state, in which there is no discrimination by sex, color, religion, race, ethnicity, or nationality.

2. We believe in nonviolence as the only option for reform and change. We will defend this belief with all methods of nonviolent struggle against any attempts to dilute or undermine our commitment.

3. The Iraqi Social Forum is committed to cooperation and voluntary work, and rejects lavish expenditures for events and unneeded spending for any post.

4. Civil society must be a key, not a secondary, partner in building a democratic Iraq, free from occupation and dictatorship. Individuals and social movements have the right to use all nonviolent means to promote reform and change.

5. We understand civil society to include all the individuals and institutions / activities / organizations that work nonviolently to help the needy, to fight against corruption, violence, and sectarianism, and to promote human rights. Civil society actors perform voluntary work through non-profit organizations that provide services and assistance at the least possible cost.

6. Iraqi social movements arise in the Iraqi civilian communities that reject religious, ethnic and sexual discrimination, and that use methods of nonviolence in its many different forms to promote reform and social justice. Nonviolent means of promoting changes include traditional activities such as rallies and marches, as well as ICT [information and communications technology] to disseminate information and build social networks.

       I.            Forum Aims:

  1. Finding an open space to stand with democratic civil state projects based on the principles of respecting individuals’ freedoms and advancing social justice.

  2. Dealing with the current reality and its developments from a political, social, and economic perspective.

  3. Discussing the reality and the role of civil society and its social movements in Iraq and how to make civil society a more effective actor in building true democracy.

  4. Discussing the role for international civil society organizations to reaffirm their support for Iraqis’ causes and the development of social movements in Iraq.