UN concerned over activities of “armed entities” in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert deeply regretted the continued loss of life in the protests, expressing profound concern over violent activities of armed entities across the country.

Hennis-Plasschaert, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, denounced in press release on Saturday the violence and the destruction of public and private property during the new wave of protests.

She expressed grave concern about armed entities seeking to hinder Iraq’s stability and unity, undermining the people’s right to peaceful assembly and their legitimate demands.

“The protection of human life always comes first. Armed entities sabotaging the peaceful demonstrations, eroding the Government’s credibility and ability to act, cannot be tolerated. “Iraq has come a long way, and cannot afford to slide back into a new cycle of violence,” Hennis-Plasschaert, of the Netherlands, stressed.

“It is tragic and unsettling to witness the return of violence, deaths and injuries. Social media restrictions remained in place, while internet access was intermittent. “Yet we also recognize and welcome that, unlike in early October, security forces have assisted injured demonstrators and ensured the free movement of medical units. “All parties need to redouble their efforts on the ground to not only prevent provocations and unnecessary confrontations, but also to collectively stand against armed spoilers.

“Additionally, while the report of the Investigation Committee is a welcome step in the right direction, the people’s continued calls for accountability should be addressed at the right level – without delay,” she went on.

“I also call upon all (political) leaders to set an example through action. Calls for an end to corruption, for instance, should be accompanied by the closure of the so-called economic committees of their parties or movements,” she added.

The Special Representative reiterates that implementing the many measures, announced by the Government in recent weeks, will take time. A constructive dialogue on the way forward is in the interest of all, according to the statement. The United Nations stands ready to assist, including by supporting the Iraqi authorities in their efforts to address legitimate demands for change: accountability and transparency, an end to corruption, improved public services, strengthened governance, and an environment that is conducive to growth and employment.

Source: Kuwait News Agency