Let me begin by thanking SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert for the briefing. It has been four months since the Iraqi people came together to vote in parliamentary elections. We look forward to the formation of a new government that will meet the needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people, in particular women, youth, and marginalized communities. It is vital that all Iraqi political actors take the steps necessary to form a government expeditiously.
Let me also underline that the historic participation of women as candidates and voters – indeed surpassing the 25 percent Constitutional quota – should be reflected in their meaningful leadership in the next government and cabinet.
We also commend the intention of the Independent High Electoral Committee to conduct a post-election review. Such a “lessons learned” process is important for strengthening the capacities of Iraq’s electoral institutions.
The security situation in Iraq continues to be fragile and volatile. We are concerned by the continued terrorist activity by ISIL and spread of violent extremism. In this regard, we underline the importance of strengthening capacity on human rights compliance and adhering to the principle of proportionality during counter-terrorism operations, while carefully considering the role of marginalization, exclusion, and injustice. We applaud UNAMI’s support to the Iraqi authorities to strengthen their compliance.
Furthermore, we are encouraged by the recent Secretary General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict in Iraq, which detailed the significant decrease in grave violations against children between 2019 and 2021.
We are, however, deeply concerned by the sharp increase of children held in detention on security-related charges. Children should be treated primarily as victims. Alternatives to detention, such as long-term and sustainable reintegration, should be actively sought.
It is clear that accountability, justice, rule of law, and human rights are at the center of addressing the long-term drivers of conflict and instability in Iraq. Norway would like to again raise the issue of strengthening accountability mechanisms for human rights violations and abuses, and in particular for violence perpetrated against demonstrators and political and civil society actors, as well as sexual and gender-based violence.
In this regard, we commend the SRSG for holding multiple roundtable meetings with government and civil society representatives, advancing support for the adoption and enactment of the draft Anti-Domestic Violence Law.
Norway welcomes the ongoing Implementation of climate change adaptation activities in Iraq – a critical area of importance for furthering long-term stability in both Iraq and the region. We welcome the increased reporting on this issue in the most recent UNAMI report, as these efforts should be an inspiration for greater international and regional support for both Iraq and for other countries facing such challenges.
Finally, let me turn to the relations between Baghdad and Erbil. We welcome willingness to cooperate on security. We urge the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to further develop their dialogue to resolve outstanding issues and to promote increased cooperation.