We are Witnessing an Iraq on Rise, Some Challenges Remain

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said that the country looks different from the one to which the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) was first deployed some 20 years ago.

“We are, so to speak, witnessing an Iraq on the rise,” she said, noting that corruption, factionalism, impunity, undue interference in State functions and armed actors operating outside State control remain.

Her remarks came amid calls from Security Council members to draw down the United Nations mission in Iraq.

“While the government is tackling these scourges, feelings of marginalization and exclusion are spreading in and among certain components, which risk fanning the flames of intra- and inter-community tension. The recent increase in mass unannounced executions of individuals convicted under anti-terrorism laws is a cause for great concern,” she added.

On the legislative front, Plasschaert said that despite the successful holding of local elections in 13 of the 15 federal governorates in December 2023, two provinces — Diyala and Kirkuk — remain at an impasse, with no immediate resolution in sight. “And six months of negotiations to replace Iraq’s parliamentary speaker have failed to produce results.”

She highlighted that nearly 10 years after ISIS committed a genocide against the Yazidi people, “Sinjar still lies in ruins,” expressing hope that the upcoming tenth anniversary will not be wasted but rather used — by all authorities, actors and stakeholders — “to unite and step up to the plate with the sole aim of serving the people of Sinjar”.

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