Urgent publishes Blaskhart report to the Security Council on the situation of Iraq
Urgent publishes Blaskhart report to the Security Council on the situation of Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s top religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is concerned about the lack of seriousness by political leaders in implementing reforms, the UN representative in Iraq said on Tuesday.
The following is the word Blaschat text in the Security Council:
members of the Security Council delegates,
in recent months, consistently referred to the local business urgent unfinished in Iraq. Perhaps inevitably, today I will talk about the protests and civil unrest.
Protests, driven initially Young people in particular, expressed frustration at the weak economic, social and political expectations, gave their hopes to a better voice, away from corruption and partisan interests, away from foreign interference,
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – from all walks of life – took to the streets, motivated Love and i They are, stressing the Iraqi identity. All they ask is a country to achieve its full potential for the benefit of all Iraqis.
However, they pay an unimaginable price until their voices are heard. Since early October, more than 400 people have been killed and over 19,000 injured.
As we celebrate the dead and pay our respects, their ideals and demands remain more alive than ever.
One protester told me in the clearest terms:
“A decent life and freedom. Or no life. That’s what all the protests are about.”
Last week I visited a hospital in Baghdad and met a 16-year-old boy who was badly wounded by shrapnel. “The lack of any possibility makes our teenagers desperate,” his mother said. “It makes them think and act at least twice as old.”
Her son is only 16 years old. But 16 years is a very long time if one waits for political leaders to deliver on their promises.
Now, these young people do not remember how appalling life was for many Iraqis during Saddam Hussein’s time. However, they are fully aware of the life they promised after Saddam Hussein. Through the power of communication, they know that a better future is possible.
I have repeatedly said: You cannot judge the present situation without putting it in the context of Iraq’s past. But what we are witnessing is the accumulation of frustration at the lack of progress for many years.
After years – even decades – of sectarian and conflict, a renewed sense of patriotism began. The 16-year-old boy I met in the hospital symbolized him, as well as his countless brothers and sisters demonstrating in Iraq. Some well-known Iraqis refer to the “battle of the nation.”
Let me emphasize: any successful nation needs to warmly embrace the potential of its youth. This is the most important in Iraq, where its young population is remarkably young.
Madam President, events got out of control on the first night of demonstrations – the authorities immediately resorted to excessive force.
The heavy loss of life, the many injuries and the violence – along with this long period of non-Muslim promises – have all led to a crisis of confidence.
Although the government has announced several reform packages addressing issues such as housing, unemployment, financial support and education – they are often perceived as unrealistic or “too little, too late”.
In addition, the government’s investigation into the violence in early October is incomplete. Who shatters the media? Killing peaceful demonstrators? Abduction of Civil Activists? Who are these masked men, unidentified snipers and unknown armed actors?
I note that a number of arrest warrants have been issued, but I would like to emphasize that the perpetrators must be held fully accountable.
Now, Madam President, there is no justification for the many killings and serious injuries of peaceful demonstrators. However, this is exactly what we have been documenting since October 1st.
The rules of engagement were revised to reduce the use of lethal force – in fact, more restraint was observed at the beginning of the second wave of demonstrations, particularly in Baghdad.
However, the harsh reality is that the use of live fire has not been abandoned, that non-lethal devices – such as tear gas canisters – are still used improperly causing horrific injuries or death, and that illegal arrests and detentions continue to occur. – Also carry out kidnappings, threats and intimidation. Recent events in Nasiriyah and Najaf are an example.
I would therefore like to reaffirm the importance of ensuring fundamental rights. Above all the right to life, but also the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. In addition, I would like (again) to emphasize the crucial importance of accountability and full justice – at all levels.
It is also important to note: the closure of the media, the Internet and social mediation adds to the general perception that the authorities have something to hide. Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of expression.
Another serious concern, Madam President, is the encroachment on the dynamics of power – the attempt to hijack peaceful protests.
Politically motivated violence, guerrilla-driven or external loyalties risk putting Iraq on a dangerous course, sowing chaos and confusion – including further loss of life and destruction of public and private property.
This seriously undermines the legitimate demands of the Iraqi people. It complicates the work of the security forces. It provides a naive excuse for political inaction or worse: an excuse for all sorts of plots to justify violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrations.
To be quite clear: the vast majority of protesters are clearly peaceful. Men and women every day seek a better life. Let me emphasize: it is the responsibility of the State to protect its people.
In other words: any and all forms of violence are intolerable and must not distract attention from the legitimate demands for reform. This would put the state at greater risk.
It would only hurt already eroded public confidence – further narrowing the government’s ability to reform. This capacity increases every time a peaceful protester is killed or injured.
Madam President, The weight of Iraq’s past and the magnitude of current issues will surely challenge the ability of any government to act quickly.
However, the long-term and real shortcomings are painful. To give you a few examples:
Free, fair and credible elections: The call for electoral reform is echoed throughout Iraq. Iraqis are calling for an independent and impartial electoral administration and changes in the electoral system to bring voters closer to their candidates and hold their elected representatives to account.
Second, rampant corruption: We have heard many words and gestures, but we have seen fewer tangible results. The political class will need to lead by example, for example by publicly disclosing its assets and abolishing so-called “economic offices.”
I cannot overstate that anti-corruption efforts in Iraq will be essential to unlocking enormous social, economic and political potential. Without real progress here, we risk water flowing on almost every other front.
The main relevant demand for demonstrators is a favorable environment for employment and growth. While this is one of the best remedies against unrest and conflict, we have seen little in terms of implementation.
Madam President, about three weeks ago, after consultations with a wide range of Iraqis, including protesters and authorities, we proposed a number of steps as a way forward. Other initiatives to promote dialogue are ongoing or under way.
But for this dialogue to succeed, the conditions of the protesters are clear: ending the bloodshed, kidnapping and illegal detentions.
Also, it must be understood that without full accountability and justice – it would be nearly impossible to convince people that political leaders are sincerely prepared to engage in fundamental reform.
While he acknowledged that the mass movement of demonstrators does not necessarily recognize central leadership, some structure and coordination on the part of peaceful demonstrators will prove significant.
Madam President, On Sunday, the Parliament accepted the resignation of the Prime Minister. The Speaker of the Parliament today asked the President to appoint a new Prime Minister – he will have 15 days to do so. In return, Prime Minister-designate will have 30 days to form a government.
While talks on the Prime Minister-designate are ongoing among political leaders, I would like to stress the urgent need for the current circumstances. Political leaders do not enjoy the luxury of time and must live up to this moment.
Moreover, they will have to clean up openly and offer real solutions, rather than leaving them to the prime minister with little or no support. I have always stressed that the government cannot do it alone. It is a collective responsibility of the political class as a whole.
With your permission, Madam President, I now turn briefly to the relations between Baghdad and Erbil. Another critical file. As I said in previous briefings: Relations are certainly on the rise, but I have to repeat this, so far, this has not been achieved in the form of real breakthroughs on the ground.
In Sinjar, we continue to face significant constraints on our humanitarian work. Erbil and Baghdad are obliged to establish a single administration and stable security structures. Their continued failure to agree can no longer be explained or tolerated.
Another concern is the situation in Dohuk governorate: more than 16,000 Syrian refugees have arrived so far, and more are arriving daily. After nine years of Syrian conflict, we did not expect new refugee camps in Iraq to open. And let us not forget: they are adding to the quarter of a million Syrians already hosted in the Kurdish region.
Now, while protests dominate our attention, we should not forget the legacy of yesterday’s fight against ISIS. As we talk, a new disaster is in the making. On several occasions, I have reported that the situation in the camps (such as strabismus) is unsustainable. Transnational threats require collective action, but instead we see an outright lack of long-term international thinking.
Madam President, I would now like to turn to the issue of missing Kuwaitis, third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including national archives.
Despite the internal crisis, I am pleased to inform you that on October 27, Iraq delivered approximately 200,000 books from the Kuwait National Library and Kuwait University.
I would also like to pay tribute to the difficult work of Kuwaiti forensic experts in the process of identifying the ongoing human remains found earlier this year in the Samawah desert. I really hope that these efforts will be completed soon, providing some closures for relatives.
One last word, Madam President, about the ongoing demonstrations in Iraq. Country as it is at a crossroads.
In my meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sistani, he expressed concern that the relevant actors may not be serious enough to implement any meaningful reform. “The situation cannot continue as it was before the demonstrations.”
At the same time, the protesters seem determined to persevere as long as their demands remain unattainable.
The situation cannot be resolved by buying time through first aid solutions and coercive measures: this approach will only increase public anger and distrust.
The pursuit of partisan interests, confusion or brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrators: these are not strategies at all. Nothing is more damaging than an atmosphere of anger and fear. We must not let history repeat itself.
From any crisis, new and great opportunities can emerge. Iraq is not a lost cause. far from it. It has tremendous potential.
The challenge is to seize this opportunity and build a sovereign, stable, inclusive and prosperous Iraq. It’s time to act. The great hopes of many Iraqis call for bold thinking. ”