Civil Society Representative joint statement on behalf of International-Lawyers.Org, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN), International Organisation for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD), Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Delivered by: Zina Jalal / GICJ
24 February 2021
Madam President, distinguished members of the Council
As we know too well, many challenges currently interfere with efforts to foster democracy. These challenges show us that democracy, whilst precious, is extremely vulnerable. In fact, it is not solely new and flourishing democracies that have been compromised by these challenges, but also the Long-standing democratic systems.
The 16th Sustainable Development Goal is dedicated to peace, justice, and strong institutions. In reality, is far from reaching its targets. Widespread conflict, corruption, limited access to justice, weak institutions, among many other barriers, act as major obstacles in many countries. These weaknesses can cause far-reaching problems, from serious human rights violations to the erosion of the rule of law.
Moreover, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many crises and has served as a further threat to global peace and security. Many governments have also engaged in abuses of power, having failed to disseminate COVID-19 data to the public and have interfered with their people’s right to information. Others have used these circumstances, mid pandemic, to accelerate their authoritarian agenda and restrict democratic space.
As was also evidenced recently in Myanmar there have been serious attempts to overthrow governments. In other regions of Africa and the Middle- East, where the COVID 19 pandemic has reduced the level of international scrutiny, there still exists consistent human rights abuses, and war crimes.
In my country, Iraq, the current situation is extremely concerning. Corruption, impunity, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture are commonplace. In particular, recent demonstrations have marked an increase in gross human rights violations. Since October 2019, hundreds of thousands of citizens, of all sects, have been spilling onto streets to call for an end to the sectarian system and government corruption. They have been met with violence, which resulted to thousands killed and injured, while over 700 disappeared. These acts go unpunished, and these instances of impunity with the militias influence are grave threats to peace and democracy.
There are many challenges that it is difficult to mention, but we call on the Human Right Council to accelerate progress towards peace and justice in order to strengthen democracy and sustainable development.
Justice, Human rights, Geneva, geneva4justice, GICJ, Geneva International Centre For Justice