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Iraqs Climate Crisis A Human Rights Emergency According to UN

Iraq’s Climate Crisis – A Human Rights Emergency According to UN


In a compelling address before the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, issued a stark warning that Iraq is currently grappling with a “human rights emergency” brought on by the devastating impacts of climate change. As the global climate crisis escalates, Iraq serves as a sobering example of the “environmental horror” that our planet faces.

A Changing Landscape:

Turk painted a vivid picture of Iraq’s plight, emphasizing the drastic transformation of regions like Basra. Just three decades ago, this area was adorned with date palms and lush canals. Today, it is marred by drought, scorching heat, extreme pollution, and rapidly diminishing freshwater supplies, leaving behind landscapes of desolation and dust.

Vulnerability to Climate Change:

Iraq finds itself among the nations most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change, particularly in terms of water and food security. The United Nations has underscored the dire consequences that Iraq is grappling with, making it a poignant symbol of the global climate crisis.

Firsthand Witness to Environmental Horror:

Turk shared his personal experience of witnessing the environmental catastrophe during his visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region in June. During this visit, he engaged with officials to discuss various human rights issues, with climate change being a focal point. His observations highlight the urgency of the situation.

A Call to Action:

The High Commissioner emphasized the urgent need for action in the face of this human rights emergency. He expressed frustration with the lack of unity among global leaders in addressing climate change, accusing them of divisive politics and indifference. Turk’s plea for action resonates deeply, as he stressed that we are already living in a dystopian future and cannot afford more warnings.

Iraq’s Leadership on Climate Crisis:

Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid and Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani have consistently acknowledged the challenges posed by the country’s water crisis. They have also sounded the alarm about the mismanagement of vital water resources. Iraq’s water scarcity crisis is the result of reduced precipitation, rising temperatures, and mismanagement, compounded by the impact of upstream dams in Turkey and Iran that have significantly reduced the flow of water into the country.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has drawn our attention to the climate-induced human rights emergency unfolding in Iraq. It is a stark reminder that climate change is not just an environmental issue but a global crisis with profound implications for human rights and social justice. The situation in Iraq serves as a sobering call to action, urging the world to unite and address the climate crisis with the urgency it demands. The time for meaningful and concerted action is now.

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