Statement by Ambassador Kelly at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Iraq
Statement24 February 2022
Thank you Mr. President, and thank you, Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert for your briefing. You and your colleagues from the UN missions and agencies on the ground have our full support, and I welcome our Iraqi colleague to the meeting as well.
We meet at an important moment for Iraq’s democracy.
Following October’s election, we look forward to the timely formation of a government, which meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people. The first session of the Council of Representatives held last month and the election of a Speaker were important steps in this process.
I want to commend the valuable work of the Independent High Electoral Commission and UNAMI, including in the post-elections phase. Following its own electoral-observer mission, the EU will present a comprehensive final report with recommendations to the Iraqi authorities later this month.
Women won a historic 95 seats in October’s election, exceeding the 25 percent quota. As Ms. Amal Kabashi told this Council last November, women must now also be full participants in negotiations on government formation.
She also reminded us that significant barriers to women’s participation remain to be addressed. We echo her calls for the swift adoption and enactment of the draft anti-domestic violence law, and for the necessary resources and structures to be put in place for the full implementation of the milestone Yazidi Female Survivors Law.
Regrettably, the security situation in Iraq remains volatile. I strongly condemn the recent attacks carried out by ISIS, including on 21 January. These attacks are a stark reminder to us all of the group’s malevolent intentions and capabilities.
There has also been an alarming uptick in rocket and drone attacks, including directly into Baghdad’s Green Zone.
We call on all actors to exercise restraint and we echo UNAMI’s message of 2nd February calling for full respect for Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity at all times.
Tragically, children are often the most vulnerable to the precarious security situation and to explosive remnants of war in particular. In the last year, over one hundred children were killed or maimed by explosive remnants and improvised explosive devices in Iraq. More concerted efforts in de-mining and mine risk education are required. The safety of Iraq’s children must be ensured and their futures safeguarded.
We welcome two further rounds of returns from Al Hol camp in December and January. We recall the obligation of the Iraqi authorities to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified returns, and to address issues such as a lack of basic services and stigmatisation of returnees.
I welcome and commend Iraq’s accession to the Paris Agreement on climate change. In the face of significant water scarcity as the SRSG has mentioned, the implications of climate change for Iraq are myriad. Climate change threatens food security, people’s livelihoods, and progress on gender equality, as well as contributing to internal displacement. Joint action to mitigate and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change will be crucial.
Finally, Mr. President,
We would like to once again welcome the fulfilment of the mandate of the UN Compensation Commission, and commend the governments of Iraq and Kuwait for their cooperation with the Commission. We look forward to further positive developments in Iraq-Kuwait relations, and in particular in the search for missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, and missing property.
Thank you President.