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01:55

UN: Iraq envoy urges leaders to 'rise to the moment' amid unrest

United Nations, New York City
December 03, 2019 at 20:12 GMT +00:00 · Published

The head of the United Nations (UN) Assistance Mission for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert talked about the "harsh reality" of ongoing demonstrations in Iraq via video link at a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York City.

"The harsh reality is that the use of live fire has not been abandoned. That non-lethal devices, such as tear gas canisters, continue to be used in an improper way causing horrific injuries or death, that unlawful arrests and detentions continue to take place, as do abductions, threats and intimidations," Hennis-Plasschaert said.

The envoy added that "the vast majority of protesters are evidently peaceful," being made up of those simply seeking a better life.

"Political leaders do not have the luxury of time and must rise to the moment," said Hennis-Plasschaert, describing Iraq as "at a crossroads."

Over 400 people were killed and tens of thousands injured since the beginning of October in the anti-government protests, including at least a dozen security forces. Iraqi Prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation on 29 November, as protesters demand an end to corruption, better public services and more jobs.

Mandatory credit: UNIFEED-UNTV

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The head of the United Nations (UN) Assistance Mission for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert talked about the "harsh reality" of ongoing demonstrations in Iraq via video link at a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York City.

"The harsh reality is that the use of live fire has not been abandoned. That non-lethal devices, such as tear gas canisters, continue to be used in an improper way causing horrific injuries or death, that unlawful arrests and detentions continue to take place, as do abductions, threats and intimidations," Hennis-Plasschaert said.

The envoy added that "the vast majority of protesters are evidently peaceful," being made up of those simply seeking a better life.

"Political leaders do not have the luxury of time and must rise to the moment," said Hennis-Plasschaert, describing Iraq as "at a crossroads."

Over 400 people were killed and tens of thousands injured since the beginning of October in the anti-government protests, including at least a dozen security forces. Iraqi Prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation on 29 November, as protesters demand an end to corruption, better public services and more jobs.

Mandatory credit: UNIFEED-UNTV

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