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Iraq: UN ‘deeply concerned’ at continued protester deaths

Iraq: UN ‘deeply concerned’ at continued protester deaths

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 30 Nov 2019, 02:33 am

New York/IBNS: UN chief António Guterres has expressed deep concern over reports of the continued use of live ammunition against demonstrators in Iraq. 

This has led to a rising number of deaths and injuries, Guterres said in a statement – including in the southern city of Nasiriyah.  

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call on the Iraqi authorities to exercise maximum restraint, protect the lives of demonstrators, respect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and swiftly to investigate all acts of violence,” said the statement, issued late Thursday evening.

Guterres also reminded the Iraqi authorities of their obligation to protect diplomatic and consular facilities and personnel, as well as public and private property.  

Echoing the UN chief’s appeal to protect the lives of demonstrators, respect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and investigate the violence, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Friday that United Nations staff in Iraq had confirmed that at least 24 people had been killed and more than 210 were injured in Nasiriyah.  

Others were also killed and injured in Naj af, the OHCHR spokesperson said, while the overall number of casualties verified by the UN since protests began at the beginning of October now stands at 354 dead and 8,104 injured.  

“Once again, we urge the Iraqi authorities to take much firmer and more effective action to ensure security forces do not employ excessive use of force, and in particular use of live ammunition, as they have been doing repeatedly since the protests began. There must also be investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for unlawful killings.

Earlier on Friday, the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on Twitter that the increasing numbers of deaths and injuries in the country cannot be tolerated.

“The presence of spoilers, derailing peaceful protests, places Iraq on a dangerous trajectory,” warned Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who also announced that she will be in New York Tuesday, 3 December, to brief the UN Security Council on the latest developments.

 

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm