Security Council Briefing: UNAMI

Statement by H.E. Lise Gregoire-van Haaren,
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 13 November 2018

I would like to thank SRSG Kubis for his briefing. His final one to this Council in his current capacity.

Please allow me to focus on three important aspects:

  1. Formation of the new government
  2. Inclusive government, and
  3. Accountability

First, Mr. President, the formation of the new government

We congratulate and commend Iraq on the formation of the new government within the constitutional timeframe

and look forward to the appointment of the remaining ministerial positions.

This year, Iraq has taken a very important step forward for democracy and long-term stability.

Prime Minister Abdel-Mahdi presented an ambitious program and took initial significant steps, in favour of proximity to the Iraqi people, transparency and reform.

We are encouraged by these early signals

and expect that the Prime Minister and his government continue to be inclusive and representative of Iraq’s diversity when implementing this program.

We also welcome the elections that have taken place in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region.

The SG report spoke of a positive trend in the communication between Baghdad and Erbil; a dialogue that we hope to see continued and intensified.

Equally important is the need for the new government to increase efforts to meet the legitimate demands of its people and provide basic public services.

This includes safe and sufficient drinking water. Electricity. Creation of job opportunities and countering corruption.

Iraq can count on the Netherlands to back such efforts.

Both politically, financially and through our private sector, as we have done over the past years.

We are in full support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq, allowing it to form and exercise such government.

Mr. President, this brings me to my second point:

A diverse society wants to see itself reflected in its elected leaders.

In a government that is inclusive and representative.

This also comprises the meaningful participation of women.

Iraq can be proud that it has historically been at the forefront of women’s empowerment in the Arab world, with the first Arab female minister nominated in 1959.

This example can still be replicated.

The meaningful political, social and economic participation of women is ever so relevant in the light of the dark period in its history that Iraq and the Iraqi people experienced.

This is why I want to take this opportunity to commend Nadia Murad.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a recognition of her voice, advocacy and all Yazidi and other Iraqi’s who suffered as a result of sexual violence and atrocities committed by ISIS.

Providing victims with means for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society is a priority area for Iraq’s second National Action Plan 1325.

But in the aftermath of the defeat of ISIS the focus will also be on other areas of the National Action Plan.

Like the social and economic empowerment of women.

Suzan Araf Maroof spoke about this to the Council in August.

And it is in this respect that we also encourage the government to take steps to end impunity for perpetrators of gender-based violence.

For example, by considering a law on Violence against Women, which criminalizes such violence, like other countries in the region have implemented.

In today’s Iraq the talents of all its people are indispensable.

Including those of women and young people.

For its economy to grow and deliver a better future for all Iraqi citizens: men, women and children alike.

Mr. President,

Finally, I want to mark the continuing engagement of UNAMI on ISIS accountability and the commencement of the work by the United Nations Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh/ISIS (UNITAD).

Earlier this month, UNAMI and OHCHR published an important report on the discovery of 202 mass graves since 2014.

Reportedly, an overwhelming majority of these graves is where victims of ISIS were buried.

So far, 1258 bodies have been exhumed, but it is estimated that there are human remains of between 6,000 and 12,000 people.

The task for UNAMI, UNITAD and the Iraqi government here is vast.

To secure, collect and preserve evidence.

To give information to the families of the many, many missing.

This is why the Netherlands has decided to contribute financially to the work of UNITAD and we look forward to Special Adviser Khan’s first briefing in December.

We encourage the new government to continue to collaborate closely with both UNAMI and UNITAD on the collection, preservation and storing of evidence of these crimes that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Finally, for which we believe there should be accountability in accordance with international standards.

Looking towards the future, we call upon the new Iraqi government – as we do on all others who have not done so yet - to ratify and implement the Rome Statute and as such, recognize jurisdiction of the ICC.

Mr President,

In closing I want to pay tribute to Special Representative Jan Kubis for the excellent work he was able to carry out over the past 3 years and 9 months with his team in implementing UNAMI’s challenging tasks over the past years.

We look forward to be working with the SRSG designate, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who will start in December, and we wish her a lot of success.

Thank you.