Press release: Helping Iraqi institutions better protect human rights

ISTANBUL - Last week, UNOPS organized a series of seminars and training sessions aimed at improving the legal protection of human rights in Iraq.

A fair and functioning legal system is vital to ensuring that the human rights and liberties of Iraqi citizens are protected. The Iraqi national institutions continue to be quite fragile, and are under increasing pressure following many years of instability in the country. As such, UNOPS, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq's Human Rights Office and the European Union are helping the Iraqi Council of Representatives (COR) develop the capacities and tools needed to build a stronger legal system that will be better equipped to serve the Iraqi people.

Throughout the EU-funded seminars, members of the Human Rights and Legal Committees of the COR worked alongside international experts on topics such as: working human rights into legislation; promoting human rights in society and formulating a legal framework for human rights in the country.

The international experts also highlighted the crucial role of these Committees in enforcing international obligations in accordance with international human rights law. Criminal law, jurisprudence, international law drafting methodologies, comparative case law and practices in other parliaments in the region were also examined throughout the training sessions.

Ms. Nieves Molina, UNOPS Project Manager, commented: "These seminars have shown the importance of the role of the two Committees in incorporating human rights into Iraqi legislation, which is critical given the current situation."

These seminars were conducted as a part of a two-year EU-funded project 'Capacity Building of the Human Rights related Committees in the Council of Representatives and the Independent High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq'. UNOPS is responsible for enhancing the capacity of the COR and for providing direct support to the Independent High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq.