Iraq: “a Long Memory but Short on Vision”

Iraq: Equality and justice not luxuries but crucial foundations of stability

Iraq must immediately take concrete steps to plan for “the day after” the defeat of ISIL, grounded in equality, the rule of law and a vision that has earned the confidence of all the country’s diverse communities, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore urged today, at the end of a week-long visit to Iraq.

“Iraq, it seems, has a long memory but is short on vision,” Gilmore said. “It is like a vehicle travelling over rocky terrain, with a large rearview mirror but only a keyhole for a windscreen, despite a vicious contest for the wheel. The dominant narrative among many of Iraq’s leaders is of ‘my community’s grievance’, failing to acknowledge the widespread nature of Iraqis’ suffering and failing to chart a course for an inclusive future.”

“Iraqis are crying out for fairness, recognition, justice, appreciation and meaningful participation in shaping their future – a process that goes forward and not backwards.”

“All the leaders of Iraq, at every level, in both word and action, need to demonstrate a far greater commitment to peace, equality and to the rule of law than to grievances or to vengeance hardwired by sectarianism. There is a worrying absence of a political narrative that brings together all the diverse communities in Iraq, a narrative that includes all the minority communities. This must be urgently addressed,” she added.

Gilmore stressed that Iraq’s challenges are not military alone and its future is not solely a matter of defeating ISIL and liberating its territories.

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