15th Forum on Minority issues
1st and 2nd of December 2022
Geneva International Centre for Justice
Delivered by Farah Caïdi / GICJ
I am speaking on behalf of Geneva International Centre for Justice. We fully support the UN Declaration on Minorities as it is a first step to address issues affecting minorities. But as we all know, a binding instrument would fill a major gap.
We see the importance of such an instrument as GICJ has been monitoring and advocating on the situation in Iraq for years. We have seen the impact of systematic violations of minorities. To this day, the situation is alarming, where there are significant failures to protect and respect a whole range of violations including arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances. These violations of course disproportionately affect minorities who are the victims of any oppression.
Further, a major problem is the inability of the Iraqi state to take real sustainable measures to erase discriminations, exclusion and violations. The state structure is strangled by sectarian groups and corrupted by the influence of their armed militias.
Many minority groups are caught in the crossfire in several parts of Iraq between pro-Iranian forces, Turkish attacks, and the ongoing power struggle between the Kurdish and Iraqi authorities.
We are conscious that a binding treaty won’t resolve everything, but it will be another instrument in the hands of civil society to put pressure on the international community when nothing else is possible.
We welcome the conduct of this forum, which for us, is filling a gap in the human rights system by letting more representatives of civil society speak. We deeply think that enhancing the conduct of this type of dialogue, trying to improve its constructiveness and NGOs preparation is a real means to encourage the implementation of the declaration. We join the panel emphasising the importance for a united civil society.
We reiterate again our call for States at the domestic level to stop ceding power and responsibility to armed militias. These actions always lead to violent conflict, and endanger minorities.