Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Iraq
Statement18 May 2022
Thank you Mr President. My thanks also to the Special Representative of the Secretary General, as always for your informative updates on the situation in Iraq, as well as on the question of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property. I’d also like to thank Ms Edwar for her important briefing and to acknowledge the presence of our Iraqi colleague.
It has been over seven months since Iraqis cast their ballots in the October parliamentary elections. Yet, as we have heard today, disagreements and division, the loop of zero sum politics as the SRSG called it, continue to obstruct the election of a President and the formation of a new government.
In October 2019, Iraqis took to the streets to demand reforms. Their demands remain unanswered. We have recently seen fresh demonstrations against the ongoing political deadlock.
We urge the relevant actors to resolve their differences and to swiftly form a government that responds to the legitimate needs and aspirations of all Iraqi people.
This is all the more important at a time when Iraqis, like others, face the spectre of growing food insecurity. Iraqi women must be full participants in all aspects of government formation, while the aspirations of Iraq’s youth must also be addressed.
The security situation in Iraq continues to be a cause for concern. Ireland unequivocally condemns the 13 March missile attacks on Erbil, claimed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. There is no justification for such an act of violence against the territory of a sovereign country.
We are concerned too by a recent uptick in attacks attributed to ISIS. These attacks regrettably remind us of the enduring threat posed by the group to Iraq and elsewhere.
As we have heard, the security situation in Sinjar is deeply troubling. We call on Baghdad and Erbil to implement security arrangements, in close consultation with Yazidis and other communities living in Sinjar, who have suffered for too long from a lack of security.
Reports of as many as 10,000 individuals fleeing violence in Sinjar in recent weeks are deeply concerning. We call on all actors to exercise restraint, engage in dialogue, and respect Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Iraqis have waited too long for accountability for human rights violations in their country, including those committed against demonstrators, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and women who are targeted for their participation in the public sphere.
And I think you again, Ms Edwar, for your important testimony on behalf of civil society.
Today is the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. I am extremely troubled by recent reports of killings, abductions, torture and sexual violence perpetrated against LGBT people by armed groups in Iraq. Such persecution is intolerable and unacceptable. I call on the authorities to end the culture of impunity that emboldens perpetrators and denies victims and survivors their right to justice.
As the fifth most climate-vulnerable country in the world, Iraq faces myriad problems including water scarcity, extreme temperatures, desertification and drought, and a lack of clean energy sources, and as we have heard today from the SRSG, dust and sand storms.
Tensions within communities over water resources, and migration from drought-ridden rural areas into ill-equipped urban ones, are just two examples of the risks and challenges that can contribute to the humanitarian situation and to instability in Iraq.
We welcome Iraq’s pioneering of a green paper, and we encourage further efforts (including by the new government, once formed) to enshrine climate mitigation and adaptation into policy, and to prioritise a much-needed green transition.
Efforts to address these risks should consider the disproportionate impact that the fallout of climate change has on women and girls. We commend UNAMI’s efforts in this space, including recent engagement with community-based initiatives aimed at raising awareness about gender equality and the leadership role of women in addressing the adverse effects of climate change.
We note that Iraq continues to play a commendable and constructive role in regional cooperation and mediation, at a critical time.
We look forward to the renewal of UNAMI’s mandate at the end of this month, and we offer our full support to the Mission and to its leadership.