The 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 4: General debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
22 March 2023
Joint Statement with International-Lawyers.Org and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Delivered by Naji Haraj
These days, the world remembers the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the subsequent occupation. Twenty years of killing, torturing and destroying Iraqi society.
There are no accurate statistics of the victims, as this was not permitted, but it is certain that more than a million Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of this, and that hundreds of thousands have suffered horrific forms of torture and inhumane treatment.
The country's infrastructure was also destroyed, the health and education systems collapsed, and the state was administered by an abhorrent sectarian system of government.
There has been a widespread and systematic violation of all the basic rights of the Iraqi people, the first of which is the right to life. Innocent people were arbitrarily imprisoned in prisons and detention centers, and we still receive daily documents documenting the death of detainees as a result of torture and ill-treatment.
The invasion of Iraq is a blatant and reprehensible act of aggression that undermined the concept of the supremacy of international law and violated all principles of international humanitarian law. Despite the passage of two decades, the planners and perpetrators of the invasion have not faced any formal judicial accountability.
From here, the Human Rights Council should take over the disastrous consequences of the invasion and seek to send an independent international fact-finding mission to Iraq to investigate it.