The Security Council today strongly condemned the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Iraq, as the top United Nations official in the country warned of a deteriorating security environment there aimed at undermining the Iraqi Government and elected officials.
Following Nicholay Mladenov’s briefing in which he presented two of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s reports, the 15-member Council stressed the need to bring those responsible for the violence to justice and called on Governments to cooperate with Iraqi authorities to hold the perpetrators to account.
“The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice,” the body said in a statement to the press.
The attacks deliberately targeted locations where civilians congregate, including schools and places of worship, the Council said, extending its condolences to the families, as well as the people and Government of Iraq.
It also acknowledged the efforts of the Iraq security forces that are also being targeted in ongoing attacks.
“The members of the Security Council strongly expressed their support for the continued efforts of the Iraqi Government to help meet security needs of the entire population of Iraq,” according to the statement.
In his briefing, Mr. Mladenov said the violence is compounded by political deadlock that is being exploited by terrorists and armed groups with the intention of inciting sectarian hatred and undermining the Government.
It is also being fueled by the ongoing conflict in Syria, which is enabling groups such as Al-Qaida to forge links with factions across the borders.
“Resolving the Syrian crisis through an inclusive national project and adopting a regional strategy against all forms of religious or sectarian extremism are vital to bringing stability to Iraq,” Mr. Mladenov said.
“This would create an enabling environment in which the country’s ethnic and religious communities can find a balance without undue outside influence.”
In his latest report, Mr. Ban noted that the resurgence of extremism and radicalization threaten Iraq’s social cohesion and may disrupt the ongoing efforts for national reconciliation.
“It is important to accelerate equitable political participation at the national and local levels, consolidate democratic processes and institutions, as well as civil society and foster economic development,” Mr. Ban said, particularly through job creation, delivery of services, and fighting corruption.
Most importantly, he said, “political leaders on all sides have a clear responsibility for leading and facilitating decisive and inclusive action.”
Among recent successful efforts to that end, a new general election law was enacted earlier this month, setting the date for the next general election as 30 April 2014, the same date as a recently postponed provincial election in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In addition, a comprehensive dialogue and reform process known as the Social Peace Initiative was created in September, supported by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, which Mr. Mladenov heads, and welcomed by the international community.
Both “remain in nascent and fragile state”, Mr. Mladenov said calling on political, religious, and civic leaders to refrain from undermining or delaying the process.
Among other issues in the report, Mr. Ban reiterates his appeal to the Government to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, in accordance with relevant General Assembly resolutions.
He also urged authorities to “swiftly” disclose the findings of an investigation into an attack on Camp New Iraq on 1 September. Following that attack, the remaining residents from the transit facility were transferred to Camp Hurriya also known as Camp Liberty.
Also today, Mr. Mladenov presented Mr. Ban’s first report on the issues of missing Kuwaiti and third-country national sand mission Kuwaiti property, including its national archives.
The issue “is now 22 years old”, Mr. Ban wrote in the report, encouraging both the Iraqi and Kuwaiti communities to work together.
“I urge Iraqi authorities both inside and outside Iraq who possess information… to come forward so that Iraqi efforts in location burial sites can bring results,” he said.