54th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council
11 September – 13 October 2023
Item 4: General debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention
27th September 2023
Statement of Association of International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Geneva International Centre for Justice
Statement delivered by Martin Browne
The High Commissioner’s visit to Iraq this August drew attention to multifaceted violations linked to enforced disappearances in Iraq which still take place in a vacuum of impunity. Those who speak out are silenced, civil society has nowhere to turn to. Justice is completely absent.
Despite purporting to have a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures, Iraq is a master at raising issues to prevent visits - difficulties related to ‘security’ always emerge to prevent real scrutiny of their human rights record.
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances who did conduct a country visit last year concluded that the authorities were failing to properly investigate and prosecute grave crimes amongst 140 other recommendations. And that Iraq is currently not in a position to achieve meaningful justice.
Militia organisations wield unaccountable power to shield themselves - threatening witnesses and family members. We also work with those facing fabricated charges of supporting terrorism under punitively broad definitions that make no legal sense.
All these family members want to know is where their loved one is being held, or has been buried.
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice urge States to bring forward strong resolutions with resources to eradicate such violations in Iraq. Victims need strong international mechanisms as domestic systems are corrupted.
With the end of UNITAD, and with thousands of victims left unaddressed. It is finally time to create an independent mechanism to ensure justice for all violations in Iraq over the last 20 years.