Baghdad- 2 March 2011- The United Nations in Iraq calls on all Iraqi authorities to fully recognize the importance of participation of all Iraqis in building a democratic, stable and prosperous State in order to consolidate and further strengthen significant progress made in the recent period.
The UN in Iraq emphasizes that freedom of expression and assembly are fundamental rights of all people in a democratic state when conducted in a peaceful and law abiding manner. “We are encouraged by the engagement by the Council of Representatives and by the Government to seek dialogue with civil society aimed at addressing the grievances expressed by the Iraqi people, as well as by the unanimous support given by all Iraqi parties to improving the access of all Iraqis to basic services. Fundamental changes are needed for creating stability and trust” said Ad Melkert, the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Iraq.
While acknowledging the duty incumbent on the Iraqi authorities to ensure law and order in the country, the UN in Iraq notes with concern that several instances of human rights violations in relation to the demonstrations have been reported. The reported violations include disproportionate use of force by Iraqi security forces that resulted in the death and injury of a number of citizens; restrictions on the media and attacks on media organizations; and arrests and detention of, in particular, journalists.
The United Nations is also concerned that children and adolescents are being exposed to danger and urges the Government of Iraq, civil society, families and parents to ensure the protection of all children.
The UN in Iraq regrets the loss of lives and calls upon the Council of Representatives and the Government to ensure that legitimate grievances of the people will be addressed and that those who committed human rights violations will be held accountable.
The UN Mission and Country Team continue to stand with Iraq and its people in support of their quest for sustainable prosperity and peace and express readiness to assist the Iraqi authorities in addressing immediate concerns of the Iraqi people and finding long terms solutions to the challenges faced by the country.
“As Iraq rebuilds its economy, it is also building new democratic institutions to ensure a sustainable future that benefits all elements of society. This is not a perfect process, and there are no quick fixes, however the UN is committed to support the people and the Government of Iraq in these challenging times,” Melkert said.
Note to the media: The United Nations in Iraq comprised of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the United Nations Specialized Organizations, Agencies, Funds and Programmes,