Despite a “very rough road”, Iraq’s Government continues to show resolve in tackling numerous pressing issues it is confronted with, including corruption, poor governance and an overreliance on oil, the senior United Nations official in the country told the Security Council today, underscoring the need for parties to prioritize the national interest over partisan concerns and to help sustain an active, empowered civic space.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), presented the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2023/340) on key political developments in the country since February, ahead of the Mission’s imminent mandate renewal.
While the ambitious Government programme has been signed off on by all coalition parties comprising the State Administration Alliance, constant compromise is needed to balance differing interests, she said, adding: “The fact is that Iraq has a full ‘to-do’ list. And narrow or partisan actions will not help in checking it off.”
In an address that covered a range of topics, including the Kurdistan region, which was recently driven to the brink due to disagreements between the two ruling parties, and the need for progress on the implementation of the Sinjar Agreement, as well as the need to address the climate emergency, represented by water scarcity.
Turning to the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, she welcomed progress on the issue. However, she added, more needed to be done on the retrieval of the national archives, she added.
Also briefing the Council was Khanim Latif, Founder and Director of Asuda for Combating Violence Against Women, who highlighted the precarious situation of Iraqi women, whose rights were severely restricted, due to socioeconomic inequality, the low numbers of females in decision-making and the targeting of women human rights defenders, adding: “Hardly a day goes by without reports of women being killed, maimed and targeted by their own family members, simply because of their gender.”
She urged the Iraqi Government to alleviate the situation of women and girls, including through adopting the long-overdue draft anti-domestic violence law, amending the Penal Code, providing access to psychosocial support, justice and shelters for survivors of domestic violence, and by allocating a budget to implement the Yazidi Survivors Law approved in March 2021.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates agreed on the need for the Government to carry out crucial reforms to tackle corruption and impunity, among other issues.
The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:48 a.m.