Opening remarks by Danielle Bell, Chief, UNAMI Human Rights Office, at the Kurdistan Regional Action Plan for Human Rights Annual Conference [6 October 2022]
08 October 2022
Esteemed partners and colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, I am honoured to attend this gathering to mark the first anniversary of the Kurdistan Regional Plan for Human Rights 2021 - 2025. Unfortunately, Special Representative of the Secretary General, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert cannot be with us today, but sends her warmest greetings to all of you.
The high level of participation in today’s event reflects the strong commitment of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the promotion and protection of human rights. This Regional Action Plan sets out a concrete framework for supporting the KRG in its work to uphold its domestic, regional, and international human rights obligations.
In the past year, our collective efforts have focused upon addressing issues related to freedom of expression, promoting human rights in the administration of justice, accountability and ending violence against women. Today’s event is a good opportunity to take stock of progress achieved thus far, and identify the additional steps required to address persistent challenges in the coming months and years.
UNAMI’s Human Rights Office continues to work with the Kurdish authorities on a range of human issues, including technical expertise to strengthen institutional capacity to meet human rights obligations. We have participated in several of the roundtables and workshops organized by Dr. Zebari through the Office of the Coordinator for International Advocacy, on freedom of expression and the role of the media, access to information, preventing torture and ill-treatment, to name a few. These forums for dialogue serve to affirm our shared commitment towards ensuring human rights protection for all in the Kurdistan region.
Looking towards the future, we believe that identifying quantifiable benchmarks to measure progress and achievement by 2025 will strengthen the success of the Action Plan. Establishing these benchmarks would ensure that results are not only measured but also made visible. Roadblocks can be identified and resolved, ensuring transparency – and more visibility – concerning implementation of the Action Plan. And, of course, we encourage public reporting on results.
One year into the implementation of the Action Plan, I reiterate the unwavering support of UNAMI’s Human Rights Office towards its continued implementation.
We encourage all relevant stakeholders to join efforts, to identify areas of shared interest, and to collectively support the Action Plan’s implementation in a coordinated manner. Areas for potential collaboration could include capacity building, enhanced monitoring, and legal and policy reforms to meet international standards.
The UN family celebrates this KRG led initiative, and we remain committed to supporting progress towards the full realization of human rights here in the Kurdistan region, nationally, and beyond.
Representative and Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office