Thank you President, and thanks also to SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert; and to Ms Edwar for emphasising the important issues of women’s roles and political participation. I want to address four core issues today: the formation of a new government, security, climate, and human rights.
Seven months ago, the Iraqi people came together to vote in parliamentary elections. It is unfortunate that since then no progress has been made on the formation of a new government. This political stalemate must end.
An interim government is not in a position to fully address the multiple challenges facing Iraq. It is vital that all Iraqi political actors take the steps necessary to form a government expeditiously, and work together towards a more peaceful and prosperous Iraq.
I would also like to underline that the elections saw historic participation by women, both as candidates and voters. We hope this participation is reflected in the new government. We also urge the federal government, and the Kurdistan Regional Government, to further develop their dialogue, and resolve outstanding issues to find long-term solutions for increased cooperation.
Second on security: we have heard again today the security situation remains fragile. We call on all parties to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation. We would like to commend the sustained diplomacy by Prime Minister Kadhimi aimed at building regional dialogue. Yet, we are alarmed by the recent escalation of tensions and clashes in Sinjar, which have deeply affected the local community and primarily the Yazidi community.
These clashes have resulted in the displacement of thousands of civilians, increased protection concerns, and make the difficult work of reintegrating internally displaced persons and returnees harder. We welcome the increased effort by Iraqi authorities - in cooperation with UNAMI - to reintegrate displaced Iraqi families in their home communities. This work is demanding, yet one of the most important for establishing lasting stability in Iraq.
Thirdly, Norway commends the Iraqi authorities for their prioritisation of climate action. As President Salih said last week, Iraq’s water scarcity is a matter of national security. We fully support the continued provision of technical assistance from UNAMI in supporting the Government’s priorities on climate action. And we encourage sustained efforts towards regional cooperation on water management. Now is the time to invest in a renewable future. Such efforts will be strengthened by, and therefore should include, civil society organisations.
Fourth and finally President: sustained efforts to advance human rights, justice, accountability, and the rule of law are needed to end the cycles of violence that drive conflict in Iraq. We are concerned by the limited progress in investigations related to the 2019 protests; the delays in appointment of a board of commissioners for the Iraqi High Council for Human Rights. We recommend that sufficient budgets are allocated towards the full implementation of the Yazidi Survivors Law to ensure survivors are able to access all relevant benefits.
I thank you.