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UNAMI Human Rights Office in Basra Marks Human Rights Day in southern Iraq

Basra, 10 December 2017 - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Civil society groups commemorated today the International Human Rights Day in Basra. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Stand up for your rights and those of others’ and was aimed to promote and raise awareness of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Day in Basra was attended by more than 100 participants, including the representatives of the Iraqi Government from Basra Governor Office, members of the Human Rights Commission, and representatives of the civil society and human rights activists, journalists and members of media, colleagues from the UN country team, the Kuwait Consulate, the Head of Basra Police, representatives of the judiciary and members of the Basra Provincial Council.

The event was opened by Elshareef Mohammed, Head of the Human Rights Office in Basra, said that this year’s event was a special one, as it marked the 70th anniversary of declaration which had been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1948. He also stated that this was an occasion to honor the exceptional work of ordinary Iraqi citizens, who with great courage had been working on advancing the basic rights in the Iraqi society.

The acting Head of Office UNAMI Basra, Mr. Patrick Kiezit, asked the audience to join him in observing one minute of silence in remembrance of human rights activists who lost their lives while protecting the rights of innocent people. He also stated that “everyone should stand up for yourself and other’s rights. Those strong enough to protect and advocate for those who don’t have a voice. Please don’t waiver, we need to increase our vigilance, as disrespect and insolence for basic human rights continues to exist in many parts of the world”.

The gathering was also addressed by Mahdi Tammai, the Head of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights in Basra, who stated that “We hope to build a new Iraq free from violations and in Basra it is necessary to have UN and international support to enhance culture of human rights, especially in building mindful, participatory and responsible states and the three governmental authorities should cooperate with each other, especially in security, education, and health fields to develop, enhance and protect rights of people in this city of sacrifice”.

Short films with human rights messages were shown, followed by a performance of a traditional musical group and a theatrical performance on various human rights themes, and promotional material was distributed.

At the end of the event a special exhibition organized by Civil society groups was opened to honor the Human Rights Day and to promote and raise awareness of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI