11 March 2013
Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.
General Debate on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, including the Right to Development.
Full text of the statement:
We would like to draw the attention of the Human Rights Council to our grave and growing concern regarding the economic, political and social human rights violation in Iraq.
In particular we alert you to the deteriorating education system, the mistreatment of women, and the poor standards of health in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion. UNESCO reported that Iraq once had one of the leading education systems in the world. Since 2003 the education system is such that 5 million Iraqis are illiterate and 50% of students have dropped out of school. Most of Iraq's schools have been bombed, looted, burnt or been used as military bases by both the US and Iraqi armies.
Education is the answer to end the cycle of poverty and to give the next generation the best possible chance of recovering from this war.
Mr President, having just celebrated the international day for women, we urge the council to remember the plight of Iraqi women. As many female professionals have stopped working fearing reprisals, the International Red Cross estimates that over 3.5 million Iraqi women are living below the poverty line. These women, many of whom are now widows, are struggling to support their families. UNAMI reports that women in detention are being sexually abused in front of male prisoners. Pregnant women in detention have been malnourished and given poor ante and post natal care.
Mr President, since the US occupation there have been adverse health trends in both the people and the health system of Iraq. As 7 million people are now living in poverty, a significant number of Iraqis do not have access to medical care, clean water and food.
Contamination from Depleted Uranium and other military related pollution is strongly suspected of causing a sharp rise in congenital birth defects, miscarriages and cancer cases.
Finally we ask the Human Rights Council to respond to the cries of Iraqi people. We urge the council to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in Iraq. We also ask that all Special Rapporteurs focus on Iraq in their coming reports.
11 March 2013