22 September 2015
General debate under agenda Item:4 Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention - 18th Plenary Meeting 30th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council.
Full text of the statement:
In his opening statement, the High Commissioner expressed his concern for human rights in Iraq. In his statement, mention of ISIL dominated. However, ISIL are not the only cause of suffering for the Iraqi people today.
The millions of Iraqi citizens who have taken to the streets since July, have not stood in the 50 degree heat to protest against ISIL. Yet while the activity of this terrorist organisation continues to be highlighted internationally and within the Human Rights Council, the voices of millions across Iraq continue to go unheard. So let us take this opportunity to hear their voices, to hear their demands.
Initially, they demanded access to water and electricity, as temperatures soared. In an economy where it is estimated that every week 800 million dollars is unlawfully transferred out of the country, it is a disgrace that people are forced to live without basic services. Where the daily needs of citizens fail to be met by their government, their claim that ‘corruption is terrorism’ rings true.
Today, they are calling for a new political system, one free from sectarian quotas and the interference of religious leaders. They call for investigations into all human rights violations and for the dismissal of the Chief of Justice, under whom corruption and abuse go unpunished.
The government has responded with empty promises, cuts and violence. In addition to the assassination of several leading demonstrators, Geneva International Centre for Justice documents cases of intimidation, threats and violence against protestors daily.
With our focus now on Iraq, we must acknowledge the suffering inflicted upon Iraqi citizens since 2003 by governments that claim to promote rights and democracy. We stand by the Iraqi people and urge the Council to hear their voices and to address their demands.
22 September 2015