47th Session of the Human Rights Council
Joint Statement on Iraq for the Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner’s annual report, 22 June 2021
I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of 24 countries.
The signatories of this Joint Statement wish to acknowledge the efforts of the government of Iraq to improve the protection of human rights. This is essential for long-term stability and prosperity in Iraq and we stand ready to continue to assist.
Iraq is a few months away from holding very important early elections after peaceful demonstrations of young Iraqis calling for political reform, genuine economic opportunities and improved government services. These protests of 2019 unfortunately escalated into violence which led to at least 487 demonstrators being killed1.
The government of Iraq made a clear commitment to hold perpetrators accountable for the violence. We commend Prime Minister Kadhimi for his engagement in this regard. However, while acknowledging the complex environment with armed actors operating outside of state control, we note that progress has been limited so far. We therefore urge the Iraqi government to renew its commitment and intensify its efforts for accountability, in conformity with international standards of fair trial and due process.
We are very concerned about recent reports of increased intimidation and targeted attacks, including against protestors, human rights defenders, journalists, media workers and electoral candidates. The rights of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression and media freedom are essential in democratic societies and for the protection of human rights. Therefore, we urge the government of Iraq to increase its efforts to create a safe public environment for all Iraqis.
We also encourage the Office of the High Commissioner and UNAMI to further strengthen the human rights based approach in Iraq, and to provide all necessary assistance to the Iraqi authorities to fulfill Iraq's international obligations to respect fundamental freedoms, such as the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly for everyone.
I thank you.
List of cosponsors
- United Kingdom and Great Britain
1 UNAMI figure, October 2019 – April 2020