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Women Empowerment Organization

Women Empowerment Organization is an independent, non-profit organization that aims to promote gender equality and fair opportunity for women to participate meaningfully in all spheres of life because, in WEO, we strongly believe that human rights, freedoms, access to and control over power and resources belong to both women and men without any discrimination. Our Strategies & Objectives WEO plans to achieve its mission and overall goal by focusing on the three following strategies and objectives: 1. Women Empowerment Enhance women’s agency to participate effectively in all political, social, economic, cultural, peace, and security processes at all levels and spheres within the Iraqi Society. 2. Ending Gender-based Violence Eliminate all forms of gender-based violence and mitigate its effects on survivors and their families. 3. Policy Development & Reform Adoption and implementation of gender-sensitive policies, laws and plans to ensure equal opportunity, participation and fair sharing of resources.

Founder and Director of Women Empowerment Organization

Suzan Aref

is a human rights and civil society activist, founder, and director of Women Empowerment Organization since 2004. She was the coordinator of the Iraqi cross-sector task force (CSTF) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security Agenda (2014-2019). She represented Iraq during her presence in the Security Council twice in a row in 2018 and 2019, to present women's situation and the progress made in implementing the First National Action Plan of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Mrs. Suzan Aref was selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights among 30 human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa. Mrs. Suzan participated as a main speaker at the European Union and Security Council Directors' meeting in The Hague on January 10, 2018, under the patronage of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has been nominated internationally as one of the world's most creative women in 2020 for her efforts that stand out for diversity and gender equality. Mrs. Suzan works as the coordinator of the Alliance 1325, a large group of civil society organizations at the level of Iraq, which had a pioneering role in developing the first national action plan in Iraq. She is a member of regional and international networks, and holds many certificates of appreciation and honors at both national and international levels, with extensive experience in women's issues (including gender equality, empowerment, advocacy, and gender mainstreaming in policies and national plans), she has worked as a consultant for several national and international agencies in the region.

1. Research study on “Strengthening the Capacity of Women Professionals Working in the Counter-Terrorism Sector in Iraq wit United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2019.

2. Gender Analysis in conflict-affected Yemen and post-conflict Iraq in August 2018 - December 2018 with EuroPlus funded by European Union.

3. Reviewing and Evaluating the “UK National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security 2018-2022” supported by UK Embassy in November 2019.

4. Peer reviewers of a guideline study “Guidance for practitioners in Iraq-International protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict” with UK Embassy in August 2018.