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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Iraq

Merci Monsieur le Président, and my thanks also to the Special Representative for her briefing this morning. Ireland sincerely appreciates your efforts and that of your team in UNAMI in what has been a really really challenging period, and thank you Jeanine.


We deeply regret that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated considerably since we last met in May. It is almost one year to the day, as others have said, since well-managed and peaceful elections took place across the country. However, government formation remains painfully elusive.


This comes at great cost for the Iraqi people, for whom critical reforms are long-overdue.


We unequivocally condemn the violent clashes at the end of August in Baghdad, which led to at least 46 deaths.


We strongly urge all actors to refrain from resorting to violence to settle political disputes and to make every effort to de-escalate tensions.


The right to peacefully protest is of course a fundamental pillar of any democracy. But respect for state institutions and for the constitution must also be upheld.


Dialogue can be the only way to overcome the current deadlock. We welcome the efforts by Prime Minister al-Khadimi to this end, including through the convening of a National Dialogue. We encourage all political actors to engage in good faith to reach agreement on a fully empowered government. 


Mr. President


More broadly, the security situation at present in Iraq is precarious. Ireland has condemned the 20 July deadly artillery attack in Dohuk, which tragically killed nine civilians and injured more.


Shelling last week in the Kurdistan region, claimed by Iran, which has also reportedly resulted in civilian casualties, is deeply concerning. Such attacks must cease immediately.


We urge all actors to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, at all times. We recall how Iraq has shown remarkable commitment to enhancing regional dialogue and fostering good neighbourly relations over the past years.


Iraq’s regional and international partners should match this. Its stability is critical to that of the region.


Mr. President,


Iraqi women performed remarkably in last year’s elections, winning a record number of seats. We commend their activism and achievements, in spite of significant obstacles.


We also acknowledge the impactful work of UNAMI in engaging with women voters and candidates in the run-up to elections.


However, as has been noted by the SRSG this morning, this exemplary performance last October has regrettably not translated into their full, equal and meaningful participation in the government formation process, with women largely excluded from talks.


Later this month, the Security Council Informal Experts Group on Women, Peace & Security will consider the situation in Iraq. This provides an opportunity to identify ways to address the barriers to their participation in political and public life, and we look forward to this discussion.


Mr. President,


We were disappointed by the findings of the recent OHCHR/UNAMI report on accountability and ‘unidentified armed elements’ in Iraq. While progress on compensation for victims of human rights abuses and violations is a welcome step, true accountability lies in ending impunity.


We urge the Iraqi authorities, albeit in a complex operating environment, to ensure credible investigations for all alleged violations and human rights abuses perpetrated against protestors, activists, journalists, and critics. Without this, trust between the state and the Iraqi people will remain elusive.


Finally Mr. President,


We welcome the commitment of both sides to further progress on the Iraq-Kuwait file relating to missing persons and property.


Thank you.


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