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Iraq Criticizes Suspension of its Membership at UN Human Rights Council

Iraq Criticizes Suspension of its Membership at UN Human Rights Council

Sunday, 20 October, 2019 - 08:00
Demonstrators gesture at a protest during a curfew, three days after the nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad, Iraq October 4, 2019. (Reuters)

Iraq lost its membership at the United Nations Human Rights Council, a position which it has held since 2017.

While an Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) official cited many reasons behind the move, such as violence exercised by authorities against anti-government protestors earlier this month, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said it was a politicized decision.

“Iraq is at a critical stage and faces many challenges in terms of the human rights file and the international commitments it signed,” IHCHR’s Ali al-Beyati told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He also urged the state to “provide logical and legal answers for all the reports and accusations raised about Iraq.”

More so, Al-Beyati called for “showing the positive side within the Iraqi state, institutional work and the democratic system.”

Commenting on Iraq's loss of membership, Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf said: “We have had an active and positive role in it (the Human Rights Council) and have worked hard to keep the council's decisions and actions from politicization.”

“As far as the Foreign Ministry is concerned with mobilizing international support to vote for the renewal of Iraq’s membership in the Council for another three years, we would like to assure everyone that it has actively sought this support, and has made considerable efforts until the last hours, and has succeeded in securing promises from 130 states,” he said.

“It has already won 121 votes, two votes short of qualification, but some of them did not keep their promises and refrained from voting for us because of Iraq’s regional and international positions and its consistent approach to some political events which did not seem to be in line with the policies of some countries,” al-Sahaf added.

He went on to affirm that Iraq will be an observer in the Human Rights Council at the beginning of 2020.

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