Baghdad, 18 December 2022
UNAMI Human Rights Office organized an event to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities by the United Nations General Assembly.
The last of the series of five roundtable discussions about the importance of strengthening the protection of minority rights in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region which started in October also held alongside the celebration. The roundtable discussion centered on the 2022 “Review, Rethink and Reform” theme of the Declaration’s 30th anniversary, encouraging review of the existing mechanisms and legal frameworks, rethinking the role of human rights defenders in promoting the human rights of minorities, and reform of the Declaration’s protection and implementation framework.
A total of 50 participants (15 women and 25 men, and 10 children) from Iraq’s diverse ethno-religious components, along with their family members, participated in the event. The Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights, Mr. Zidan Atouan and representatives of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) also attended the event. The event also featured cultural dance by children and music from diverse minority communities.
“Today marks the thirty-year anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. The Declaration is of relevance in Iraq, which is one of the world’s most diverse countries with respect to its cultural, ethnic and religious heritage”, said Danielle Bell, Chief, Human Rights Office, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Representative, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Iraq, in her opening remarks.
Recommendations made by the participants included coordination of collective efforts to counter hate speech, implementation of the provisions of the Iraqi National Human Rights Plan concerning component groups, curriculum reform and the enactment of relevant legislation concerning diversity protection and anti-discrimination. The outcome of the discussions will be shared with the Government.