Page 1 - UNAMI Herald volume 6 Issue 2
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UNAMI Herald

              Volume 6, Issue 2                                 March — April 2019

              Reviving public trust: A necessity

                                                                                al change?
                                                                                Can  we  shy  away  from  the  lack  of
                                                                                viable  and  responsive  institutions,
                                                                                from the lack of capacity to follow-up
                                                                                on  important  decisions,  from  the
                                                                                deadlock  between  ruling  elites,  from
                                                                                the  sectarian  militarism,  from  the
                                                                                fragmentation  along  ethnic  or  reli-
                                                                                gious lines? No, I would say, as all of
                                                                                this  continues  to  play  out  at  the  ex-
                                                                                pense of the Iraqi people.
                                                                                Ladies and gentlemen,
                                                                                The  entire  country feels  proud  when
                                                                                watching  the  Iraqi  national  football
                                                                                team  play.  At  the  same  time,  many
                                                                                people  continue  to  tell  me  that  they
                                                                                do not see how a national identity can
                                                                                go  hand-in-hand  with  their  other
                                                                                So,  one  big  question  is:  how  can  we
              Sulaymanyah, 6 March 2019 - The   Clearly  decades  of  conflict  and  eco-  collectively  promote  a  sense  of  pride
              Special Representative of the United   nomic  hardships  have  caused  deep   and  confidence  in  the  country?  After
              Nations  Secretary-General  for  Iraq   scars  in  Iraqi  society.  Iraqis  have   all,  Iraq  needs  a  renewed  sense  of
              and  head  of  the  United  Nations  As-  sacrificed  a  lot.  And  also  the  more   patriotism to re-emerge stronger.
              sistance  Mission  for  Iraq  (UNAMI),   recent  sectarian  legacies,  ethnic  ten-  As divisions in the country remain an
              Ms.  Jeanine  Hennis-Plasschaert,   sions  and  internal  political  strife   underlying problem, part of the solu-
              attended the Sixth annual Sulaimani   have added to the distrust among the   tion  must  be  to  engage  in  sustained
              Forum:  “Iraq  and  Its  Neighbours:   religious  and  ethnic  groups,  have   and meaningful national and commu-
              Toward a New Regional Order”, held   added to the distrust  between  politi-  nity  reconciliation  to  bridge  the  dif-
              in Sulaymaniyah. Here is the text of   cal leaders and their constituents.   ferences  and  grievances,  to  accept
              her keynote address:             At  the  same  time,  in  this  period  of   others and - where needed - to apolo-
              Excellencies,                    post-conflict recovery, Iraq finds itself   gise to others, to respect each other’s
              Ladies and gentlemen,            at a critical juncture. Iraq finds itself   special  history,  to  build  social  cohe-
              In the invitation to this forum, it was   on a path whereby realism and great   sion  and  thus  to  move  towards  a
              stated  that  there  are  many  political   determination  will  be  necessary  in   sense of national unity.
              and  economic  issues  to  be  addressed   facing the challenges ahead. And not   Within this context, political, commu-
              in the aftermath of last year’s federal   only that. Political and societal will is   nity and religious leaders should play
              and Kurdistan regional elections.   a  precondition,  obvious  ownership   a  central  role  to  build  tolerance  and
              Very  true  indeed.  One  can  certainly   and  engagement  of  all  Iraqi  compo-  counter  extremist  ideologies.  For
              not  deny  that  the  road  to  well-  nents  and  communities  will  prove   leadership  failures  and  the  rise  of
              deserved sustainable stability in Iraq   crucial.  And  it  goes  without  saying   violence are closely connected.
              will be long and far from easy.   that a sense of urgency to see and feel   Community activists, including youth
              There  are  so  many  issues  to  be  re-  the  need  for  a  turn-around  is  essen-  leaders,  require  much  greater  sup-
              solved.                          tial.                            port  than  at  present.  The  lack  of
              In this regard, I should begin by say-  However,  to  date,  the  government   meaningful  participation  by  some
              ing  that  I  will  speak  candidly  today.   formation remains incomplete in both   minority  groups  is  also  of  serious
              My  comments  aim  to  be  both  chal-  Baghdad and Erbil. Nine months and   concern.  And  excluding  women  from
              lenging  and  thought-provoking,  so   five  months,  respectively,  after  elec-  the political process, is to ignore half
              that  we  can  attempt  -  honestly  and   tions.                 of  Iraq’s  potential,  half  of  Iraq’s  tal-
              constructively  -  to  address  some  of   Political infighting and factional poli-  ent  and  half  of  Iraq’s  energy.  The
              the deep-rooted problems within Iraqi   tics  seem  to  be  the  rule.  Parliamen-  country cannot afford to do that.
              processes and institutions.      tary  committees  have  yet  to  start   The good news is that last year major
              Only  by  focusing  on  these  systemic   their substantive work. Is it any sur-  political  parties,  for  the  first time  in
              concerns  will  it  be  possible  to  revive   prise that the sense of public disillu-  national  elections,  did  reflect  upon
              public  trust  in  the  government,  to   sionment  remains  high?  Is  it  any   the diversity of Iraq and the need for
              revive  public  trust  in  state  institu-  surprise  that  people  do  not  believe   a  national  narrative.  As  a  conse-
              tions  and  to  restore  faith  in  the  na-  that the political process serves them   quence,  the  sectarian  divides  of  the
              tion as a whole.                 or that it can bring about institution-  past  were  replaced  with  cross-
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