Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Iraq
Statement11 May 2021
Thank you very much indeed Mr. President and I want to Jeanine, the SRSG, for her really insightful briefing this morning. Thank you Jeanine. Also, I want to welcome the representative of Iraq amongst us today.
I would like to begin by extending our deepest condolences to the people of Iraq following the tragic fire at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital in April. This was a terrible tragedy, and it came at a time when we know the Iraqi people are facing devastating effects of COVID-19. Our thoughts and our prayers are certainly with the families of the victims and of all those affected by the tragedy.
Ireland welcomes the commitment of the Iraqi government for free and fair elections in October. We welcome the important preparatory steps we are seeing now taken by the Iraqi authorities to that end since our last discussion back in February. This includes the passing of an amendment to the Federal Supreme Court law, the appointment of members of the Court, and the vote by the Council of Representatives to dissolve itself in the days running up to the election. Important steps.
The establishment of a higher committee to promote and monitor women’s electoral participation as well as introducing measures to prevent and address violence against women is also welcome and we see these as very positive steps.
The recommendation by the Electoral Commission to register internally displaced persons to vote is a significant one, and we encourage that it be enacted without delay.
Let me underline again today that it is absolutely critical that the political and electoral process include all parts of Iraq’s diverse society in order to be a successful process.
The international community of course has an important role to play in constructively supporting peaceful, inclusive and democratic elections in October. We commend the crucial work carried out by UNAMI in assisting with preparations to date. This Council should work intensively and promptly to see how we can best assume our responsibilities to Iraq, and enhance and maximise our role as Iraq undertakes such a critical process for the Iraqi people’s future.
Just yesterday, this Council was privileged to hear once more the striking testimony of Nadia Murad.
The passing of the Yazidi Female Survivors Law represents a groundbreaking moment in efforts to redress the immense suffering of her community and of women from other minority groups at the hands of ISIL, including conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.
True accountability for survivors, through prosecution and conviction of these heinous crimes, is now needed and urgently. In the words of Ms. Murad during yesterday’s briefing, “transforming evidence into justice and accountability requires action.” We urge Iraq to put in place the legislative framework necessary for this to happen.
Ireland remains concerned by reports of continued terrorist attacks across the country. We once again reiterate our firm rejection of any attempts to destabilize Iraq. The peace and stability of Iraq is not only essential for the prosperity of its own people, but indeed for the entire region.
The rights to freedom of expression and assembly are already enshrined in Iraq’s constitution. However, we continue to witness violations of these rights and a lack of fair trial guarantees. The assassination of a prominent activist in Karbala and attacks against a journalist in Diwaniyah province are deeply troubling and unacceptable. We urge Federal and Regional Governments to redouble efforts to protect and defend these rights and to end impunity.
The adoption of the 2021 Federal Budget Law in March was an important milestone, and a real demonstration of what constructive dialogue and compromise between authorities in Baghdad and Erbil can achieve. We call on all parties to continue this spirit of cooperation and to faithfully implement the budget agreement.
Furthermore, we welcome the efforts of the Government of Iraq to combat corruption and to ensure that those found guilty of corruption be held accountable for their crimes.
We were pleased also like others to see further progress on the identification of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, as well as on the return of missing Kuwaiti property, during the last months. We hope that progress on this important legacy issue continues.
Finally, I would like to reiterate again Ireland’s strong support for the excellent and critical work being carried out by the Special Representative and her team. We look forward to the renewal of UNAMI’s mandate at this Council in the coming weeks.
Thank you Mr. President.