GICJ Written Statements submitted to the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council

The participation of Geneva International Centre for Justice at the 19th session of the Human Rights Council included the submission of several written statements on various human rights issues, including the human rights violations in Iraq. In addition to the overall human rights violations in Iraq issues such as death penalty and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, the rule of law, education, health, and women's and children's rights were also covered.


Agenda Item 3 - Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.

- Children of Iraq and armed conflict

For  two  decades,  Iraqi  children  have  been  subjected  to  grave  violations  of  human  rights. Due to decades of war, foreign occupation and international sanctions, Iraq has turned into one  of  the  worst  places  for  children  in  the  Middle East  and  North  Africa  with  around  3.5 million living in poverty, 1.5 million under the age of five undernourished and 100 infants dying every day, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

- Detention and rule of law in Iraq

In its reports about  human rights situation in Iraq UNAMI  (the  UN  Assistance Mission to Iraq) expresses its serious concerns about the administration of justice and the rule of law in Iraq – particularly  in  relation  to  the  observance  and  respect for  due  process  and  fair  trial standards,  as  well  as  the  physical  conditions  in  pre-trial  and  post-conviction  detention facilities and prisons. This statement  will  summarise  the  main issues related to detention and Rule of Law in Iraq, including torture and mistreatment, as presented in the more recent UNAMI/ OHCHR report issued in 2011.

- Enforced or involuntary disappearences in Iraq

Since the war in Iraq in 2003, tens of thousands of Iraqi people have been seeking family members who were being missing as a result to the war. The number of missing persons in Iraq ranges from 250,000 to up to one million according to different public sources.  Tens of thousands of Iraqis disappeared during the worst days of the war between 2005 and 2007. Some were seen picked up by uniformed militias and piled into lorries; others simply seemed to vanish. The fate of many missing Iraqis remains unknown. Many are languishing in  one  of  Iraq's  notoriously  secretive  prisons.

- Iraqi children health situation

For two decades, Iraqi children, along with the rest of the population, have been subjected to  grave  human  rights  violations,  caused  by  decades  of  war,  foreign  occupation  and  international  sanctions,  Iraq  has  turned  into  one  of  the  worst  places  for  children  in  the  Middle East and North Africa with around 3.5 million living in poverty, 1.5 million under the  age  of  five  undernourished  and  100  infants  dying  every  day,  the  UN  Children's  Fund  

Since  the  invasion  in  2003,  the  US/UK  forces  and  the  Iraqi  authorities  grossly  failed  to  fulfil  their  most  basic  duties  towards  the  children  of  Iraq  in  accordance  with  the  UN  Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Resolution 25/ Session 44, November 1989.

- The destruction of Iraq's education system

Iraq’s education system, once vaunted as the most advantaged in the region, has suffered a patterned  process  of  degradation  and  dismantling.  Iraqi  schools  and  universities  were bombed and destroyed. Under the occupation, according to a report by the United Nations University International Leadership Institute in Jordan, some 84% of Iraq’s institutions of higher education have been burned, looted, or destroyed. Some 2.000 laboratories need to be re-equipped and 30.000 computers need to be procured and installed nationwide.

- The plight of Iraqi academics

Among the many tragedies that have befallen Iraqi society as a consequence of the US-led 2003  invasion,  has  been  the  physical  elimination  of  hundreds  or  thousands  of  Iraqi academics  in  what  has  every  appearance  of  being  a  systematic  campaign  of  targeted assassination.

Iraqi  academics  began  to  fall  victim  to  well-organised  teams  of  assassins  who  ambushed them  as  they  went  about  their  daily  lives,  typically  killing  them  instantly.  Such  killings account for the substantial majority of recorded deaths. Whilst some initial speculation suggested that the killings targeted scientists who had been involved in weapons programmes, the victims included many that could not have been.

- The situation of Iraqi children

This report will focus on the violations by the occupying forces and the Iraqi authorities of the Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: CRC Article 28, 29.

Since the  invasion in 2003, the  US-UK  occupation forces and the  Iraqi authorities grossly failed to  fulfill  their  most basic  duties towards the  children of Iraq in accordance  with  the UN  Convention  on  the  Rights  of  the  Child  (CRC), Resolution  25/  Session  44,  November 1989. Principles of the CRC emphasized the need to protect children‟s rights‟ to life and physical, mental, moral, and spiritual development in a safe environment.

- Violations of women rights in Iraq

Between 1960 and 2003, Iraqi  women  had successfully  gained access to education, health care  and  employment,  and  their  political  and  economic  participation  had  significantly advanced.  The  women  and  girls  of  Iraq  have  borne the  biggest  brunt  of  this  conflict  and resulting insecurity after the 2003 invasion. “For Iraqi women, who enjoyed some of the highest levels of rights protection and social participation in the region before 1991, this has been an enormously bitter pill to swallow."


Agenda Item 3 - Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. and Item 4 - Human rights situation that require the Council's attention.

- Death penalty and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in Iraq

Since the beginning of 2012, Iraq has executed at least 65 prisoners, 51 of them in January, and  14  more  on  February  8,  for  various  offences.  The  Iraqi  government  seems  to  have given state executioners the green light to execute at will. The government needs to declare an  immediate  moratorium  on  all  executions  and  begin  an  overhaul  of  its  flawed  criminal justice system. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.


Agenda Item 2 - Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General. and Item 4 - Human rights situation that require the Council's attention.

- Human rights situation in Iraq according to UNAMI 2011 report

This written statement will summaries to the Council and Civil Society representatives the main  issues  related  to  human  rights  situation  in  Iraq  as  presented  in  UNAMI/  OHCHR above mentioned report. The report affirmed that the Government of Iraq has an obligation to ensure law and order throughout  its  territory.  In  so  doing,  it  must  conform  to  international  legal  norms  it  has accepted or which are binding on it. The Iraqi Constitution1 at Article 8 states, “Iraq... shall respect its international obligations.”

International  law  applicable  to  Iraq  includes  human  rights  norms  which  are  considered customary international law, as well as a number of human rights treaties to which Iraq is a party.

Participation of GICJ at Human Rights Council Sessions

Human Rights Council - 35th regular session (6 June - 24 June 2017)

Human Rights Council - 34th regular session (27 February - 24 March 2017)

Human Rights Council - 33rd regular session (10 September - 30 September 2016)

Human Rights Council - 32nd regular session (13 June - 1 and 8 July 2016)

Human Rights Council - 31st regular session (29 February - 24 March 2016)

Human Rights Council - 30th regular session (14 September - 2 October 2015)

Human Rights Council - 29th regular session (15 June - 3 July 2015)

Human Rights Council - 22nd special session on the human rights situation in Iraq in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated groups - 1 September 2014:

Human Rights Council - 21st special session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem - 23 July 2014:

Human Rights Council - 26th regular session (10 - 27 June 2014):

Human Rights Council - 25th regular session (3 - 28 March 2014):

Human Rights Council - 24th regular session (9 - 27 September 2013):

Human Rights Council - 23rd regular session (27 May - 14 June 2013):

Human Rights Council - 22nd regular session (25 February - 22 March 2013):

Human Rights Council - 21st regular session (10 - 28 September, 5 November 2012):

Human Rights Council - 19th regular session (27 February - 23 March 2012):

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