Speech by DSRSG Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance Claudio Cordone, 14TH Annual Islamic Conference to Address Violence Against Women and Girls
27 August 2022
Saturday, 27 August 2022
Your Excellency, President of the Republic, Barham Salih,
Your Excellency, Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi,
Your Excellency, Speaker of the Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbusi,
Your Excellency, President of the SJC, Fayeq Zaidan,
Your Eminence, Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Excellencies, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Civil Society Representatives, Tribal and Religious leaders,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted and honored to attend this significant event, on behalf of the Special Representative for the Secretary General in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, to mark the “14th Islamic Conference to Address Violence Against Women and Girls”. Please allow me to firstly commend the efforts of the al-Hakim Foundation, under the sponsorship and leadership of His Eminence Sayyad Ammar al-Hakim, for convening this annual event and to reaffirm our shared position on the eradication of all forms of violence and discrimination against women.
This year’s theme: ‘Educating Her is the Renaissance of the Nation’ reminds us of the importance of ensuring girls and women access to education – both formal and informal – and how that leads to the transformation and progress of communities and the nation.
We welcome the new Iraq National Education Strategy (INES 2022-2031), developed with support of UNESCO and UNICEF. It is a strong framework for national commitments for education and training over the next 10 years. Within this framework, we encourage strengthening support programmes for older girls and young women who have not completed their basic education so that they return and achieve their formal education and training.
Last June, the Government of Iraq jointly with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) convened the first national conference to address early marriage bringing together civil society, tribal and religious leaders, and the international community. Similar initiatives need to be encouraged as one way of ensuring women and girls’ access to education and the opportunities that this may engender for the future.
The theme of this conference today also demands that we examine the role that women play in politics, in the economy, in addressing the impacts of climate change and participation in every sector of society. As we all know, Iraq is in the middle of a political crisis. Efforts should be encouraged to bring women to the table in current and subsequent national dialogue sessions and to participate in finding solutions to address the current political impasse. Iraqi women will not fully play a positive role unless they are given a seat at the table and elected to decision-making roles in politics and governance.
Constructive and inclusive dialogue is the only means to find solutions to any political crisis and to implement much needed reforms in the interests of the country and its people. This includes accelerating adoption of laws that would protect women and other persons at risk, notably the Anti-Domestic Violence Bill which is still pending.
Finally, I would like to assure you that UNAMI and the whole UN family stand ready to support the Iraqi government, state institutions and the people of Iraq in addressing the current political crisis, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and supporting the country towards a path of peace and prosperity.
Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance