The UN special envoy outlines Iraq’s growth and ongoing struggles

Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert, who is also the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), quote Notable advances in infrastructure, economic reform and regional influence signal an Iraq on the rise.

“[Today] Iraq looks different from the country where UNAMI was first deployed some 20 years ago. Indeed, it looks very different from the country I visited in 2018. We are witnessing a resurgent Iraq, so to speak,” she speaks.

However, she admitted challenges such as corruption, factionalism, impunity and armed actors remained significant obstacles.

“While the Government is addressing these disasters, they still represent major obstacles that must be overcome,” She added.

“The same goes for feelings of marginalization and exclusion, which are widespread within and between certain communities. If not addressed, they risk fanning the flames of intra- and inter-communal tensions.”

Protect human rights

Senior United Nations officials expressed concern about a recent increase in unannounced executions under anti-terrorism laws.

Additionally, she continued, the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Iraqis are still not fully protected and noted that women’s empowerment remains an important issue, with many women still waiting for a seat at the decision-making table.

“This shows that women’s empowerment must go beyond symbolism,” she said.

“And the need for an active, empowered and protected civic space is as present as ever,” she added.

SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert briefed the Security Council via video link.

Somber anniversary

Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert also emphasized that this summer will mark a somber anniversary – a decade since Da’esh (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL) did genocide against the Yazidi people.

She said: “At this stage, I can only express hope that the upcoming commemoration will not be wasted but used by all authorities, stakeholders and stakeholders to unite and join hands to achieve the sole goal of serving the people of Sinjar.” .

Continued polarization

Turning to the political situation, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert noted that holding local elections in December 2023 is a positive step, with most government councils currently in operation. However, the two provinces are still in a deadlock and political negotiations are still dragging on.

In the autonomous Kurdish region, political polarization is growing and regional elections are postponed, she added, warning that “the stakes are high – including and increasingly increased – in the context of the legitimacy of [the region’s] Institutions.”

The replacement of the speaker of the Iraqi parliament has also stalled, reflecting internal divisions.

“I can only emphasize, for many reasons, the importance of having a speaker in the chair,” she said, expressing hope that there will be a solution in the upcoming parliamentary vote.

SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert (on screen) briefed the Security Council via video link.

SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert (on screen) briefed the Security Council via video link.

Regional dynamics

On a regional scale, Iraq has shown strong determination to prevent escalation into broader conflict, contributing to creating a more stable security environment. However, the risk of miscalculation remains high due to the presence of armed actors operating beyond state control, the UN special envoy said.

She noted that the return of Iraqi citizens from camps in northeastern Syria was progressing, but time was of the essence, warning that holding people indefinitely in restrictive conditions would creates greater security risks.

Thursday also marked Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert’s last press conference with the Security Council in her role as Special Representative of Iraq before she resigned at the end of May. Former Dutch Defense Minister appoint on 31 August 2018, succeeding Ján Kubiš of Slovakia.

Iraq asked to close the delegation

In the debate that followed Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert’s meeting, the Iraqi Government demanded that UNAMI’s work be finished by the end of next year and that UNAMI’s efforts until then would focus on economic reform. , service provision, sustainable development, climate change. and other development issues.

Abbas Kadhom Obaid Al-Fatlawi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, remember Security Council Resolution 2682 (2023)established an independent strategic review group on UNAMI.

He stated that the review had concluded that the Mission was no longer necessary due to the positive developments and important achievements that Iraq had witnessed in all fields.

Several Security Council members echoed the call by the representative of Iraq to end UNAMI’s mandate on 31 December 2025, with Russian representative emphasized that the Mission, more than 20 years since its establishment, has fulfilled its potential to support the rebuilding of the Iraqi state.

“The remaining issues should not be used as an excuse for the Mission’s endless presence there,” he said.

However, representative of the United States pushed back against calls to withdraw from UNAMI, emphasizing the importance of the organization’s work in resolving outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait.

While welcoming the Mission’s efforts to support elections in Iraq, she noted that the review also recommended that the formation of a government following parliamentary elections “be seen as a milestone important in fulfilling UNAMI’s mandate in an orderly and responsible manner.

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