The UN special envoy for Iraq and head of the UN Aid Mission in the country (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, declared in the Security Council that a credible electoral process with “free and broad participation” would lead to “a secure and successful future” .
“The way of expressing one’s voice and holding elections is a matter of choice. This essential democratic exercise requires that all voters, candidates, journalists and activists do their part,” said the special envoy.
Hennis-Plasschaert has warned that failure to hold the elections would cause “significant, prolonged and widespread anger and disappointment” that could further destabilize the country at a time when the need for unity is “desperate” .
He also stressed that the elections scheduled for October will continue to be “Iraqi owned and controlled”, for which he has called for the integrity of the process to be maintained and warned that “political pressure and interference, intimidation and illegal flows are a danger would represent its credibility. “
On the other hand, the Special Representative in Iraq has pointed out that accountability for serious crimes and human rights abuses remains “very limited” in the country. “There have been few prosecutions for murder and serious injury to demonstrators,” he complained, referring to events in the massive anti-government protests in October 2019 over the rise in unemployment, corruption and poor public services.
With regard to the restriction of freedom of expression in the Kurdistan region, Hennis-Plasschaert has told the Security Council that critics of the government “run the risk of intimidation, restricted mobility and arbitrary arrest”.
“The lack of an institutionalized dialogue and an implementation mechanism between Baghdad and Erbil is perceived negatively, which leads to misperceptions and mistrust,” he also criticized.
Likewise, he has pointed to the fact that the passage of the Yazidi Survivors Law, which grants redress and legal recognition to atrocities committed by the Islamic State against women and girls as crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, was a brilliant note.
With this in mind, the head of UNAMI has pointed out that “terrorism continues to claim innocent lives” in a country where improvised missiles and explosives are “a constant in life” and used by “cynical and insensitive armed forces” for the purpose will destabilize the country.
At the meeting, he also pointed out over the past seven months that 16 camps for internally displaced persons have been closed or reclassified. In addition, the necessary preparations for the safe return of around 50,000 Iraqis to their areas of origin had not been made, he condemned.
“If camps are closed before return conditions are appropriate, Iraqis will have dire consequences,” he said, citing opposition from local communities, lack of protection by the authorities and even physical attacks against returnees.