Geneva International Centre for Justice welcomes the statement of the UN High Commissioner for human Rights.
Geneva International Centre for Justice welcomes the statement of the UN High Commissioner for human Rights on the current situation in Iraq, in which she expresses her concern towards the human rights situation in Iraq and call for a Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Iraq.
In a statement this the after noon (25 June 2014) at the 26th session of the Human Rights Council, delivered by her deputy Ms. Falvia Pansieri, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemns in strong words the violations of human rights in Iraq. The Deputy High Commissioner stated that:
“Iraq, which has been confronted by recent and dramatic developments. The High Commissioner has expressed extreme alarm at the deterioration of the human rights situation. She called for immediate cessation of acts of violence and abuses committed against civilians in violation of applicable international human rights and humanitarian laws. There are over 1300 civilian casualties in Nineveh, Diyala, and in Salah-Din provinces”.
She mentioned violations by ISIL and other fighters group and the Iraqi Security Forces, and said: “Some of these violations could amount to war crimes. She added that: Violations of International Human rights law continue to occur in complete impunity, including unlawful killing, gender-based violence, attacks on civilians and attacks on protected buildings such as medical units”.
The High Commissioner has called on the Iraqi Security forces to exercise restraint in their ongoing military operations, and to take measures to ensure that civilians are protected from violence. She has also urged Iraq’s political leaders to urgently seek a sustainable resolution to the crisis, including by promoting an inclusive government of national reconciliation, with equal treatment and representation for all communities.
Finaly she confirm that “This Office is following the situation very closely, in particular though its presence within the integrated mission. OHCHR stand ready to report on the matter as early as possible, either during an urgent gathering-should the Council be willing to reconvene after this session- or during the Council’s September session."
This is the first time since 2003 that the High Commissioner submits such call regarding the human rights situation in Iraq.
GICJ representative speaks at the Council in the name of more than 200 NGOs from around the world supporting this call and ask for a thorough investigation of all human rights violations that committed in Iraq since the invasion and occupation of 2003.
Text of the statement:
“We share the Deputy High Commissioner’s concern about Iraq, which after years of neglect has suddenly re-emerged to the forefront of global attention. As few days ago UNESCO upgraded the crisis to level 3, the international community has for the most part adopted the view that the country is fighting a war against terrorism. It is however important to understand that the recent escalation is a direct result of the extreme grievances inflicted on the Iraqi population in a degraded, war-torn environment.
Ever since the illegal invasion in 2003 the cycle of socioeconomic degradation has become widely systemic. Years of occupation paved an environment ripe for extreme forms of human rights violations to be committed with impunity, most of which were given insufficient attention by the international community. The unfortunate legacy remained with Iraq’s successive government, which further escalated the circle of violence.
Regrettably the international community has turned a deaf ear to the desperate calls of millions of Iraqi people, when they took to the streets from 2011 on and demanded to end the human rights violations committed against them. It also did not react when these protests were cracked down by massive batteries of tanks, helicopters and missiles or when few months ago government forces began to conduct indiscriminate bombings and attacks against several cities throughout Iraq. The summary executions that according to UNAMI were undertaken by government forces over the past weeks reflect a small part of these atrocities.
Mr President, without responding to the legitimate demands of the aggrieved population further escalation will be inevitable. Over the past Iraqis have explicitly stated on numerous occasions that they don’t want their country to be divided and we urge this Council to make all its members understand that any military intervention can only aggravate the current calamity.
Finally our NGOs welcome the Deputy High Commissioners request to convene a Special Session on the situation in Iraq and undertake an independent investigation into all human rights violations committed as our group has demanded many times since 2003. Lastly, we also remind this Council that it is far past time to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iraq.