All Iraqis have right to participate in rebuilding their country, UN stresses

2 March 2011

The United Nations today stressed the right of all Iraqis to participate in building a democratic, stable and prosperous nation, while also emphasizing the importance of respecting the freedom of expression and assembly amid reports of violations committed during recent demonstrations.

“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,” said Ad Melkert, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq.

“Fundamental changes are needed for creating stability and trust,” Mr. Melkert, who is the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), added in a statement on behalf of all of the UN agencies working in the country.

In the statement, the UN stressed the importance of respecting the freedom of expression and assembly, which it said are fundamental rights of all in a democratic State when conducted in a peaceful and law abiding manner.

While acknowledging the duty incumbent on the Iraqi authorities to ensure law and order in the country, the UN noted with concern that several instances of human rights violations related to the demonstrations have been reported.

These 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 journalists.

The UN also voiced concern that children and adolescents are being exposed to danger and urged the Government of Iraq, civil society, families and parents to ensure the protection of all children.

It expressed regret over the loss of lives and called on the Council of Representatives and the Government to ensure that legitimate grievances of the people are addressed and that those who committed human rights violations are held accountable.

UNAMI and the Country Team expressed their readiness to continue to stand with Iraq and its people in support of their quest for sustainable prosperity and peace, and to assist the Iraqi authorities in addressing immediate concerns of the people and finding long-term solutions to the challenges the country faces.

“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,” added Mr. Melkert.

 

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