Recommendations on Iraq’ s Human Rights Situation as Civil Society, UN Member States Consult ahead of Universal Periodic Review

Baghdad, 11 September 2019 – Iraqi civil society organisations had the opportunity to engage directly with UN Member States in Iraq at an interactive dialogue in Baghdad today in preparation for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iraq’s human rights situation later this year.

Twenty-six Iraqi civil society representatives covering all governorates of Iraq delivered briefings and participated in a Question and Answer session on the country’s human rights performance with representatives from 12 UN Member States, and participants from the European Union, NATO and a number of international organisations. The civil society organisations made recommendations for the greater protection of rights of minorities, women and detainees, a moratorium on the death penalty, amendment of Article 41 of the Iraqi Penal Code in line with relevant human rights standards, and the need for shelters in all governorates for persons at risk.

Co-hosted by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) at UNAMI Headquarters in Baghdad, the dialogue aimed to assist UN Member States to formulate specific and well-targeted recommendations ahead of the 34th Universal Periodic Review Working Group Session in November.

Mr. Tim Petschulat, of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, emphasised the “essential role” that Iraqi civil society and Member States will play at the UPR. The moderator of the event, Dr. Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, a professor of International Law and former Minister of Justice in Germany, commended civil society and states for their “strong and necessary engagement in the process which can only strengthen” the UPR process.

Haider Al-Awadi, of the Insan Coalition for Human Rights, an Iraqi civil society organisation, stated that “today’s event built our trust and confidence in the UPR process. Civil society organisations engaged in a concrete initiative with the international community. We hope that it leads to our important recommendations being raised by States in Geneva in November.”

Danielle Bell, Chief Human Rights Officer at UNAMI, stressed the importance of the pre-UPR session dialogue. “Today’s dialogue demonstrates a shared commitment to address what Iraqi civil society have identified as most critical, in particular rights of minorities, women and children, and human rights and the administration of justice,” said Ms. Bell.

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