UNPO’s UPR Reports Denounce Human Rights Situation in Iraq and Iran
On the occasion of the 20th Session of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, UNPO has submitted two reports denouncing the human rights situation in the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite their international responsibilities, these States have failed to protect and promote fundamental human rights and freedoms of minority groups and indigenous people.
Throughout the UPR procedure, a UN mechanism in which all UN States come under a general review of their human rights record, States and civil society organizations highlight the situation of human rights and issue recommendations to the ”State under Review (SuR)” to improve its human rights practice. UNPO has taken this opportunity to highlight several major issues which affect ethnic and marginalized communities in the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The report on Iraq focuses on the Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkmen ethnic groups, raising concerns about the limited codified provision of rights for these communities in the country and the failure of the Iraqi State to fulfill its international obligations. Grave human rights violations are committed by police and security forces with arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions and torture being reported. Security concerns especially affect Iran’s minorities as religious and ethnic identity has become increasingly politicized.
Other specific issues arise with the increase of violence in Iraq, the rising number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the unaddressed practice of land-grabbing. Further violations include multiple forms of cultural, political and religious oppression. Given these issues, UNPO has urged the Iraqi authorities to consider the following recommendations:
- To amend and adapt the Personal Status Law and Civil Status Law to give fair and equal treatment to all citizens, including women and those of religious and ethnic minorities;
- To accede to the ICRMW and the optional protocols of the other major human rights treaty bodies;
- To remove objections entered to the CRC and CEDAW;
- To make efforts to restore balance to the ethnic makeup of the police and security forces;
- To work with the UNHCR to provide support and help to the large number of IDPs in Iraq;
- To take major steps to counter the rise of sectarian violence, and to pay specific attention to attacks on religious minorities;
- To make a priority of bringing perpetrators of attacks aimed at religious minorities to justice;
- To provide adequate funding and support for both foreign and domestic archaeologists to preserve Iraq’s cultural heritage, both Islamic and not;
- To combat electoral fraud and encourage participation by ethnic and religious groups;
- To provide all ethnic groups in Kurdistan with support as to encourage political participation;
- To provide a fair balance in the reservation of seats for ethnic groups based on the actual makeup of the population.