The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative celebrates the tremendous success of the Iraqi Social Forum and The Baghdad Marathon for Peace in Iraq (22-24 September 2016, Baghdad).

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Where can you go to talk freely with Iraqis of Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, Palestinian, Christian, Eziidi, International and many other backgrounds about equality, civil and human rights, solidarity, unemployment and freedom? Anyone visiting Baghdad last week could not have missed the great energy of the nearly 3500 diverse Iraqi activists (young and old) from across the country who came to support the third Iraqi Social Forum, the second running of the Baghdad Marathon for Peace, and closing ceremony of the Forum. Ten international supporters included attendees from Italy, Norway, UK, the USA, Japan, and Canada. Followers of the events on social media reached 24 thousand via the Iraqi Social Forum Facebook page and the Baghdad Marathon Facebook page.

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The Iraqi Social Forum [ISF] is a chapter of the World Social Forum that strives to build a powerful social justice movement uniting Iraqis as part of a shared, worldwide struggle to advance human rights and freedoms, and oppose corruption, exploitation, and militarism. The ISF brought together NGO leaders, labor union representatives, and human rights activists who participated in 19 small group sessions on topics including nonviolent social action, creative media advocacy, women’s rights, environmental action, legislation to advance the needs of differently abled persons, workers’ rights and other critical labor and economic issues. On the second day, Assemblies of Convergence addressed three themes: 1) the economic and social rights of workers; 2) women’s rights and equality; and 3) nonviolence as a tool for social and political change.