31th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 3 – Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on minority issues
Geneva – 15th March 2016
Dominicans for Justice and Peace welcomes the recent visit to Iraq of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. Her statement of the 8 th of March rightly addresses key challenges that religious minorities are facing everyday.
Dominicans for Justice and Peace is similarly very concerned about the situation, in particular the massive exodus and internal displacement occurring even as we speak. Christians, Yezidis, Mandaeans, and other minority groups, who have been targeted and driven from their homes by Daesh, remain crammed into camps, often living in unbearable conditions. Those lucky enough to have survived, while grateful to find refuge in Kurdistan, feel betrayed and abandoned by the Iraqi government which has hardly taken any responsibility for them. As a result, as the Special Rapporteur has said, 100 to 200 Yezidis are leaving Iraq every day. We also attest that more than 20 Christian families are leaving every week. These people have lost hope in any future for minorities in Iraq!
The Special Rapporteur raises the issue of discriminatory laws and practices against minorities. We share that concern and would like to emphasize the lack of inclusiveness in the Iraqi society. All religious minorities are made to feel like foreigners or, at best, second-or third-class citizens. The Personal Status Law passed last October is a good example of this. It alienates all religious minorities and prevents the development of any national identity. This lack of inclusiveness should be made explicit in a future report of the Special Rapporteur.
While the Iraqi State should be proud of the religious diversity on its territory, its discrimination and marginalization of religious minorities contributes, we believe, towards the violence and war in the country. To stop the haemorrhaging of minorities from Iraq and to create the conditions for a lasting peace, it is today of the utmost importance that the State takes action to protect all minorities and to recognise them as equal citizens with a stake in the country’s future. The international community must insist on this and back up progress with large-scale technical, logistical and economic support.
Thank you Mr. President.
Oral Statement Submitted by
Dominicans for Justice and Peace, Order of Preachers