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Iraq: UNAMI underpins the transitional political process

 

Although events in Iraq during 2005 were well chronicled in the media, the contributions of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) received less attention.Yet throughout the year, UNAMIís team of political, electoral, constitutional, information, humanitarian and human rights experts - working mostly from within Baghdadís International Zone and from Amman and Kuwait,-employed their expertise and resources to assist the Iraqi people and government with their political and economic development.

 

The mandate given UNAMI in Security Council resolution 1546 tasks the mission with facilitating the political process in Iraq and encouraging that process to be as inclusive and transparent as possible. In November 2005 the Security Council reaffirmed UNAMIís mandate with the passage of resolution 1637. To that end the Special Representative of the Secretary General and the UNAMI team engaged Iraqis of all political and ethnic backgrounds throughout the year.

 

As Iraq underwent the complexity of a political transition process, UNAMI focused its activities on providing political, electoral and constitutional support, while at the same time coordinating donor assistance and providing support for Iraqís reconstruction and development. The missionís human rights office monitored abuses and strove to support the rehabilitation of Iraqi institutions that would be responsible for improving the human rights situation in the country. Terrorism, torture, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings continued to present a major challenge to the rule of law.

 

In 2005, the Iraqi people voted three times on the future of their country, including a referendum on 15 October on the new Iraqi constitution. Through its assistance to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), the UN provided critical support to these electoral processes.

 

With UN assistance, Iraq was able to meet each major stage during the past yearís political timetable as set by the Security Council. Elections for the Transitional National Assembly in January 2005, organized by the IECI, produced a Transitional Iraqi Government and set in motion the process to draft a national constitution. Intense negotiations over the drafting went on from May through mid-October, with the SRSG encouraging all parties to support the process, and emphasizing that the constitution be inclusive and representative of all Iraqis.

 

During this period, UNAMIís Office of Constitutional Support provided technical advice, capacity-building and donor coordination. Together with UNDP, the Office also arranged for the printing and dissemination of the constitution, while the Iraqi authorities were responsible for distributing it. UNAMI also mobilized the Iraqi media to raise public awareness of the entire process.

 

With the 15 December elections for a Council of Representatives, Iraq entered the last phase of its formal transition process under the Transitional Administrative Law. However, Iraq continues to face significant challenges, particularly with regard to national security, which continues to be a daunting and elusive goal.

 

While the tenuous security forced the UNís 95 international staff to remain largely confined to the Green Zone, the UN deployed hundreds of local and international staff in Iraq at the peak of operations during 2005, including in Basra and Erbil.

 

On 12 November, 2005 Secretary- General Kofi Annan visited Iraq to reiterate the UNís commitments.

 

In his last report of 2005, the Secretary-General cautioned that the December elections would not mark the end of the countryís political transition, ďbut the beginning of a new phase in which responsible politics and leadership will make the difference between success and failure.Ē In 2006 UNAMI is to remain engaged in further implementing its Security Council mandate with a view to promoting national dialogue and reconciliation and shaping the democratic future of Iraq.

 


Prepared by the Peace and Security Section, United Nations Department of Public Information.

© United Nations 2006