12 March 2013
Item 4: Human Rights situations that require the Council's attention.
General Debate on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council's Attention
Full text of the statement:
Ten years ago, in February and March 2003, the world witnessed the greatest popular manifestations ever for peace and against aggressive war. More than 30 million people took to the streets in public manifestations and leaders of public opinion spoke out against the threat of a US attack against Iraq. Yet the illegal war, opposed by the greatest number of UN Member States, was launched against Iraq by the US-UK led coalition.
As recognized from the outset of the United Nations, the initiation of a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime. Such a war entails legal consequences for the aggressors and provides rights for the victims. All countries that participated must be held accountable.
The consequences of the war and the occupation of Iraq have been catastrophic and have resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands Iraqis. The U.S. pursued a policy of division creating a fractious society, which disrupted public services.
Human rights have been systematically violated, the heritage of thousands of years destroyed, and an ancient culture thrown into chaos. Coalition military operations, including massive attacks on cities like Fallujah, together with a counter-insurgency policy, led to substantially increased mortality and massive displacements. Families have been destroyed, displaced and forced into refugee status. Iraq's education system has been severely damaged. Unemployment rates are high, and Human Rights violations are endemic with a culture of impunity.
Today we ask for accountability and justice for the people of Iraq. The UN must not turn a blind eye to a grave Human Rights situation resulting from aggressive war and continued effects of occupation. We strongly believe that the time has come for the Human Rights Council to reinstate the position as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iraq.
It is in this quest for accountability and justice for Iraq that a coalition of NGOs is holding a series of side events taking place the 14th and 15th of March, here at the Palais des Nations.
22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council - item 4 - Ms Yanet Bahena
12 March 2013