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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on Iraq

Thank you very much Mr. President, and I want to welcome and say a special thanks to the Special Representative Jeanine for your trademark frank and excellent briefing. I’d also like to welcome our Iraqi colleague with us today.


I will begin by extending my deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives in the fire at al-Hussein hospital on 12 July.


And also I wish to extend our condolences on the loss of life from the heinous terrorist attack carried out in Baghdad just one week after that. Ireland strongly condemns this attack and others carried out by ISIL, which highlight the volatile security situation that persists right across the country.


The continued malign behaviour of such actors, threaten Iraq’s stability at a crucial time, just ahead of elections which are so important to Iraq’s future and the security of the entire region. I want to reiterate Ireland’s full support for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.


Mr President,


We look forward to the planned elections proceeding on time, in transparency, and in safety, on the 10th of October. We’ve previously underscored our strong belief that women, young people, and minority communities should be included in the electoral process. Recognizing challenging circumstances, not least the COVID-19 pandemic, Ireland welcomes continued progress in the preparations towards free and fair elections, in particular the work undertaken by the Higher Committee to promote and monitor women’s meaningful electoral participation.


I’d like now to strongly echo the Special Representative’s earlier appeal today to the Iraqi people themselves to come out on the day and to exercise their rights at the ballot box.


We are pleased that the European Union will deploy electoral observers to Iraq, bolstering the expanded role of UNAMI in monitoring elections, as we mandated here at this Council in May. These will be important elections, and we want to do all we can to build confidence around their delivery.


A vibrant civil society is vital to a thriving democracy as we know, and to any credible electoral process. Any national effort to promote and protect human rights requires ensuring that international human rights obligations are incorporated into domestic legislation and delivered on the ground, implemented in practice. Ireland therefore welcomes Iraq’s recent adoption of a five-year Human Rights National Action Plan.


However, we remain deeply concerned by developments on the ground in terms of shrinking civic space, with disgraceful attacks on activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and women’s groups.


We are very concerned also that accountability for such serious crimes and human rights violations remains very limited.


Strong and coherent action on human rights is critical. We call for the full implementation of the Human Rights National Action Plan, for justice, and an end to impunity, and for fair-trial guarantees for all.


Earlier this month, we marked seven years since ISIL brutally targeted Yazidis in Northern Iraq. We take this opportunity to call on the Iraqi Government to deliver accountability for the brave survivors of ISIL crimes, mostly women and children, by swiftly putting into practice the provisions of the Yazidi Survivor Law. We welcome the establishment of the General Directorate of Yazidi Affairs and the appointment of a Yazidi female lawyer as Director General to take forward this work. 


Mr. President,


We regret that the humanitarian situation remains dire for many Iraqi people. Internally displaced persons are very vulnerable. We commend the Government of Iraq in securing the safe return of ninety-three families from Al-Hol camp in Syria in May. This is the beginning. It is important to follow up by ensuring the resettlement of these families, and to work on the return and resettlement of others across the country, in a safe, voluntary and of course a dignified manner.


Finally Mr. President,


We know the stability of Iraq is inextricably linked to that of the region more broadly. With that in mind, I would like to note the commendable role played by Iraq in facilitating and indeed encouraging regional dialogue in recent months. We look forward to hearing the outcome of the proposed Iraqi-led regional summit later this month.


I conclude by echoing the comments of others today in commending also the efforts of the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait with regard to missing persons, and we welcome the progress we’ve seen on that over recent months, bringing closure to many families. 


Thank you Mr. President.



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