Thank you Ambassador Allen.
The UAE is really honored to co-sponsor this critical Arria-formula meeting along with the Netherlands, and I thank our co-hosts, the US and the UK, for bringing us together today and to Ambassador Mohammad Bahr Aluloom for his very powerful opening statement.
I would also like to thank His Excellency Karim Khan, the Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD, his team, and today’s keynote speakers for their considerable efforts to promote accountability for the most egregious crimes committed by Da’esh. We wish Mr. Khan the best of luck in his next post as he departs UNITAD to continue the pursuit of justice at the ICC.
The UAE strongly values the critical work of UNITAD in collecting, storing, and preserving evidence of atrocities committed by Da’esh. The approach adopted by the Council in establishing UNITAD’s mandate, in close partnership with the Iraqi government, including capacity-building efforts, was innovative and sent a powerful signal of unity within the international community to hold Da’esh accountable.
Accountability for serious international crimes is crucial to achieving justice for victims and for deterring future atrocities from happening again.
As we all know, women and girls in Iraq have suffered from atrocious crimes at the hands of Da’esh, including rape and slavery. Providing them adequate access to justice requires a survivor-centered approach. Their physical and psychological well-being must be put at the core of investigations, and social stigmas must be removed in our entire region. As this is a top priority for the UAE, we have contributed half a million US dollars in support of the investigative efforts of UNITAD’s Gender Crimes and Crimes Against Children Unit.
The UAE encourages the appointment of focal points to ensure all of the team’s work is conducted in a gender-sensitive manner, as well as data collection through its digital platform.
All of these efforts, including that 49% of the team are women, are paramount to ensuring inclusive reporting that fully reflects women’s accounts.
The UAE welcomes UNITAD’s dynamic approach to achieving its goals, using artificial intelligence and innovative solutions to expand the scale of evidentiary material available, enhancing the team’s analytical tools, and increasing access to survivors and witnesses.
One of the key pillars for the UAE’s pledge for a Security Council seat this year is to help spur that innovation to promote international peace and security. Technology is undoubtedly now playing a key role in helping to achieve accountability and it has become even more important during this COVID-19 pandemic. So we really hope to see further cooperation between UNITAD and tech companies to enhance the team’s capacity in collecting and analyzing digital evidence.
We encourage the international community to strengthen its financial and logistic support to this team to help bridge the gap between rhetoric and implementation to bring justice and uphold international law. We also have this responsibility that we bear to support the local populations in rebuilding their communities, and this shouldn’t be forgotten.
Recognizing the plight of the Yazidi women, the UAE is supporting Nadia’s Initiative to provide services to more than 60,000 Yazidis living in six villages in Sinjar through a US$2 million contribution. We acknowledge Nadia’s presence here today and continue to applaud and support every effort she makes in her incredible journey to help others.
The UAE is also supporting reconstruction efforts elsewhere in Iraq, including mosques and churches destroyed by Da’esh. Such actions are crucial for promoting religious co-existence and helping bring hope to the people of Iraq, and also the entire region.
Finally, let me highlight that despite the liberation of eight million people from the hold of Da’esh, our work against this terrorist group is far from complete as the Ambassadors just outlined. In parallel with UNITAD’s work, we should continue supporting the Global Coalition’s efforts in dismantling Da’esh networks and countering its global ambitions.
We continue to support these international efforts on all fronts and we hope to continue to do so from within the Security Council next year.