Middle East


Endorsed in 2015

Not Endorsed

Not Endorsed

Not Endorsed

Relevant UN Resolutions

No current sponsorships
GCPEA Education Under Attack

Profiled in GCPEA Education Under Attack

Profiled in: 2022, 2020, 2018, 2014

Other GCPEA Publications

Other Important Information
Memberships in International Regional Organizations

Is not a peacekeeping contributing country

Key Information

Key information about the country.

Member of the Core Group in Geneva

Advocacy Engagements

Engagements with this state or any other relevant information that can support advocacy.



2015: Present at the First International Conference on the SSD in Oslo.

Adviser to Prime Minister attended the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools together with the Ambassador in Oslo. Bilateral meeting with Oslo Ambassador just before the Conference showed good signs. Encouraging statement delivered at the Oslo Conference. STC is following up with government in Baghdad. NY mission has received letters about the SSD in the past but no meeting. Outreach letter sent in advance of CAAC Open Debate.

August 2016: CAAC Open Debate: “Da’esh has transformed schools into training camps, thereby depriving children of their right to an education. Those schools have become centres for the torture and murder of teachers who have refused to teach the Da’esh curriculum” “Moreover, the planting of bombs in homes, streets, schools and hospitals has made it very difficult to provide humanitarian and medical assistance to children under siege by Da’esh.”

December 2016: Human Rights Watch reported on military use of schools by the Shingal Resistance Units (Yekîneyên Berxwedana Şingal, or YBŞ).

February 2017: When David Andres Vinas was deployed in Iraq for a couple of weeks on the second half of October 2016, in the context of the Mosul operation, they successfully used the SSD as an advocacy tool. In the city of Qayyarah (about 40 km south of Mosul and at the time recently retaken Iraqi Security Forces had set up a security screening center in a school. They found out because it was included in a reporting tool of the Protection Cluster. They proceeded then to highlight this to UNICEF, the HCT and the Education Cluster (some were already aware) and used the SSD to justify the need to vacate the school and find an alternative site for the screening center. The HC agreed to bring this up to ISF and eventually the screening center was moved to a Mosque. This was back in October, so not sure what is the state of the school.

February 2017: Meeting with GVA mission. A delegation from the Iraqi embassy in Santiago will represent Iraq at the conference. Protection of schools is a priority for Iraq, especially since Daesh attack so many of them. Knows that they’ve been asked to endorse before, but not sure why they haven’t yet endorsed or whether they will endorse.

March 2017: Attended Buenos Aires Conference on Safe Schools.

April 2017: UN HABITAT mapping of damaged schools in Mosul:

February 2017: Save the Children in Iraq (a non-endorsing state) reported an example of use of the Declaration and Guidelines as an advocacy tool in October 2016, to convince Iraqi security forces in Mosul to vacate a school that they were using as a security screening center.

March 2017: there was some correspondence received by Human Rights Watch from the MFA which said, more or less “without guaranteeing a mechanism for coordination and cooperation between signatory states to help affected countries… I believe that this declaration is a form of international organizational luxury, which is not realistic or leads to realizing its targets.”

August 2017: Geneva Call provided training to the Sun Girls Brigade, an all-female armed unit of Yezidi women in Iraq, during which they discussion the challenges faced in the provision of education.

September 2017: Watchlist received information that military use is a serious issue in Iraq because during military operations against ISIS, it is very common that the forces and their affiliated groups set up positions and bases in schools. This makes them legitimate targets as well as it often leaves the schools in an even worse state than before. Watchlist provided text of a draft recommendation to the MRM, urging all parties to cease attacks or threats of attack against, and military use of, schools and hospitals and their personnel, and to respect their civilian character in accordance with international humanitarian law; the Government should endorse the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military through signing the Safe Schools Declaration.

October 2017: Watchlist published their monthly update for October, in which they urge the Government to endorse the Guidelines through signing the Declaration towards addressing the ongoing issue of the military use of schools in Iraq. Watchlist provided a draft recommendation to UNICEF Iraq, urging all parties to cease attacks or threats of attack against schools and hospitals and their personnel, to avoid the military use of schools and hospitals, and to respect their civilian character in accordance with international humanitarian law. The draft recommendation also calls on the government to endorse the Declaration and Guidelines. Jane Arraf, NPR, published a moving account of the struggles and joys of restarting schools in post-ISIS Mosul, including a reference to the military use of schools by ISIS.

October 2017: Jane Arraf reported in NPR on the struggles and joys of restarting school in post-ISIS Mosul, with the article containing a mention of schools used by ISIS.

November 2017: Human Rights Watch issued a dispatch calling for an investigation into the killing of a school principal. Channel 4 documentary featured soldiers using civilians to check for snipers and threatening to kill children in schools 2018, in a report on mass executions, Human Rights Watch also reported that the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Peshmerga military forces detained the men, both foreign and Iraqi, in a school in Sahil al-Maliha, a village 70 kilometers northwest of Mosul.

August 2018: Gisela and Nevena met with the Second and Third Secretary of the Mission of Iraq in Geneva. We had a short discussion during which we provided an update on the Safe Schools Declaration. They advised us that the government is looking at the possibility of endorsement, but could not give us an indication on progress or timing. They were eager to share that “Da’esh in Iraq has been defeated” and that the government has been working to rebuild educational infrastructure, ensuring safe school environments for children, in cooperation with UN agencies and non-governmental organisations. They were interested in the Spain conference and responded that they were looking forward to receiving the invitation. They were very appreciative to receive materials translated into Arabic. Follow-up: We followed up in writing sharing key points of our discussion and links to our resources.

November 2018: Save the Children Iraq is developing an advocacy strategy to encourage endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration, and has included it as one of the strategic goals of their Protecting Children in Conflict Campaign.

December 2018: GCPEA met with the Deputy Permanent Representative and Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Iraq. They referred to ongoing cooperation with UNMAS of clearing schools and their surroundings of remnants of war and improvised explosive devices. The Deputy Ambassador was very cautious, saying that it is too sensitive a time for the recently-established government to join new initiatives. He though it would be more likely after 6-12 months. The prospect of being invited to present at the Spain conference piqued his interest, however, and he asked “off the record” for some concrete ideas of what they could do in order to be highlighted. He argued that SRSGs Zerrougui and Gamba has included erroneous information about use of schools by Iraqi forces in their reports. He had consulted with the Ministries of Defence and Interior, who assured him the reports were not true. It is Daesh who uses schools for storage and shelter. The government is working closely with Gamba’s office on the coming report. They could not endorse the Declaration and then, later, be criticised in Gamba’s report for using schools. GCPEA followed up in writing, sharing a letter for the Foreign Minister.

March 2019: attended GCPEA side-event on “Better Protecting Women and Girls from Attacks on Education” in Geneva.

April 2019: Human Rights Watch made a submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on Iraq ahead of its pre-sessional review. It suggested that the Committee recommend Iraq to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration. The submission had been made before endorsement was confirmed by the Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

May 2019: Participated in the Third International Conference in Palma.

June 2019: Side-event “Children and Armed Conflict – Protecting children during and after war” ECOSOC segment in Geneva: During the interventions from the floor, Iraq underlined their efforts to maintain access to safe education during the conflict, and mentioned their government’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration, and encouraged other states to join this important initiative.

December 2020: GCPEA (Yatasha and Nevena) met with Save Iraq and Save UK to discuss implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration in the country. Save the Children Iraq informed the meeting about a recent workshop on implementation held with the government representatives, and that the MRM needs to be strengthened. GCPEA will support and work with Save Iraq in the development of an advocacy strategy and its engagement with the government.

February 2022: Save the Children Country Office in Iraq is working with the Ministry of Education to organise a training on the Declaration and the Guidelines to further implement its commitments.

July 2022: At the UNSC CAAC debate :- Condemns attacks on schools in context of Daesh

August 2022: On 30 August, Apolline and Nevena met with Dr. Sahar Harbi from the Ministry of Education in Baghdad. We briefed Dr. Harbi on GCPEA and shared recent developments on the Safe Schools Declaration. We also shared recommendations for Iraq’s national statement at the upcoming Transforming Education Summit. Dr. Harbi briefed us on Iraq’s work on protecting education: committed to SSD implementation, participated in the Spanish global training of 2021, seeking to find a trainer on SSD implementation for security actors – in collaboration with Save Iraq, Prime Minister office has commanded a speedy evacuation of schools in Iraq to which the MoD responded positively and developed a planning of evacuation. She explained that the SSD is already built-in national programs and that they collaborate with local NGOs and UN partners to (1) evacuate and rehabilitate schools, and (2) ensure safety of all schools, including by ensuring a constant dialogue between ministries, and particularly between education and security actors. For instance, the MoD named a focal point on this portfolio. She explained that the MoE already developed plans and allocated budget for this issue and therefore they are very much committed to organizing the Inter-Ministerial roundtable on SSD implementation with us. She recommended that we reach out to the MFA/ PM in Geneva to secure their support – we are actively seeking to secure this meeting. The roundtable is scheduled tentatively for November 2022.

September 2022: On 19 September, the Advocacy team met with Zainab Khaytoon, new focal point on the SSD for the Iraqi PM in Geneva. We discussed the idea to organize a roundtable discussion in Baghdad with the ministries of Education, Justice, Defense, Interior, Foreign Affairs, and the department of Women Empowerment. The expert advised that it would be better to postpone the round table until the new cabinet was in place.

UN Standards

Good Practice

What, if anything, the country has done to protect education and/or implement any of the 8 commitments outlined in the Declaration.

Commitment 1

In 2021 – Iraq federal Ministry of Education is developping an action plan with a set of objectives to address Iraq implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration. The action plan includes an objective around security personals training. MoE reached out to SCI to support with the work on that specific objective. *info shared with GCPEA by Save Iraq (Noor) – they sent us the TOR by email

Commitment 2

The Iraq Education Cluster created a form for monitoring and reporting on attacks on education and military use of schools.


Commitment 3


Commitment 4


Commitment 5


Commitment 6


Commitment 7


Commitment 8




National Action Plan or Technical Committee on the SSD

Not established

Relevant Contacts

Contact information of the representatives of Permanent Missions, national Ministries, and focal points for the State-led Implementation Network.

Geneva Missions

General Email(s):

Other Contacts:
Zaytoon Abdullah, First Secretary

New York Missions

General Email(s):

Other Contacts:

State-led Implementation Network
Zainab Abdul Hasan mahmood
Charge of spin Disk
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)