Agenda Item 3 - Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
Statement by: International-Lawyers-Org and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
06 March 2020
Thank you, Mr. President,
We appreciate the Special Rapporteur’s specific mention that the State’s responsibility to protect defenders cannot be outsourced or renounced on account of special circumstances.
In this regard we would like to bring to his attention that the number of abductions and assassinations of human rights defenders and civil activists in Iraq since October 2019 is shocking. Security forces are not only attacking protests leaders and activists but are also intentionally targeting medics whose only objective is to treat those who have already fallen victim to the violence. We would appreciate the Special Rapporteur taking this into account.
We regret however that, in its various press releases, the High Commissioner maintains that the perpetrators remain unidentifiable, and that it continues to rely on the government to prevent and punish violations.
Mr. Special Rapporteur,
In this matter International Lawyers and Geneva International Centre for Justice wish to bring up two issues. First, the perpetrators are easily identifiable: they are the militias, not vague entities. They are linked to the ruling parties and officially to the Prime minister and have admitted on many occasions that they play a direct role in the crackdown. Second, the UN cannot rely on the government of Iraq to track and punish the perpetrators. In Iraq, the targeting of human rights defenders is the ordinary course of business and follows a deep trend that developed due to 17 years of corrupt rule and impunity. Indeed, given the links between the government and those generally regarded as responsible for the killings, it is unlikely that investigation will bear any fruit.
Once again, I thank Mr. President and Mr. Special Rapporteur.
Justice, Human rights, Geneva, geneva4justice, GICJ, Geneva International Centre For Justice