Thank you, President. I would like to start by thanking the Special Adviser for his very helpful update, his recent report and for all the work of his team in Iraq. I would also like to welcome the Representative of Iraq to the chamber.
The United Kingdom highly values the progress UNITAD is making in holding Da’esh to account for its horrific crimes. I would like to emphasise three points in particular.
First, we welcome the Government of Iraq’s continued work and leadership to enable the domestic prosecution of those responsible for Da’esh’s crimes and UNITAD’s support. In particular, we welcome the establishment of a Joint UNITAD-Iraq Working Group this year, which will look at pathways for the prosecution of international crimes inside Iraq. It is essential that we build legal routes for sharing information and evidence to support prosecutions.
Second, we commend UNITAD’s close collaboration with the Iraqi Judiciary, including through the archiving and digitisation project. As we’ve heard, this archive will enable Iraqi judges to draw on a much wider range of evidence when building cases and pursuing investigations, including into the development and use of chemical and biological weapons. UNITAD’s continued and enhanced cooperation with the Iraqi authorities can make a real difference in their efforts to deliver justice for survivors of Da’esh crimes.
Third, the United Kingdom particularly welcomes UNITAD’s ongoing focus on crimes committed against Yazidis, Christians, and other minority groups. There is a terrible legacy of Da’esh crimes against these communities and we must address it. On her recent visit to Iraq, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh highlighted the need for further support to victims and survivors of Conflicted Related Sexual Violence, including children born of rape. We commend the Government of Iraq for the ongoing implementation of the Yazidi Survivors Law, including the initial payouts of reparations to survivors.
President, we must not relent in our support for victims and survivors of Da’esh crimes. We look forward to working closely with Iraq and partners on the Council to continue supporting the important work of UNITAD in September’s mandate renewal.
The UK is committed to joining the Government of Iraq, UNITAD, and the wider international community in the pursuit of justice.