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UN Watch demands protection for threatened ex-Miss Iraq


The UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group, has called upon the United Nations to take action on behalf of a former Miss Iraq who is being threatened with revocation of her citizenship and other punitive measures for testifying before the UN Human Rights Council.

Sarah Idan, who represented Iraq in the 2017 Miss Universe competition, is facing calls for her citizenship to be revoked over remarks she made before the United Nations in support of Israel and peace.

The 29-year-old Idan’s family was forced to flee Iraq after she posed for a photo on Instagram with Israel’s representative to the competition, 21-year-old Adar Gandelsman. Idan, who lives in California, received death threats over the photo. 

Earlier this month, Idan appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Council where she expressed public support for Israel.

During the speech, she said Iraqi leaders’ hatred of Israel is “deeply rooted in the belief system taught in Muslim countries, which are anti-Semitic,” she said. “Sadly, hatred and intolerance are reinforced by biased media.”

“I’d like to remind Arab countries that today you share more common interests with Israel than the terrorist militias,” she added.

Following the address, she faced backlash from political leaders in her home country. Idan tweeted Tuesday that the government was trying to revoke her citizenship.

“2 weeks ago Iraq denied my statements at the UN that I don’t have freedom to speak about Israel now they’re taking my citizenship. This is inhumane. I’m speechless,” she said. 

Idan, who worked for a time with US troops in Iraq as a translator, appealed to the UN and US President Donald Trump to assist with her situation.

“I fought beside US to end tyranny & deliver democracy to Iraq. Freedom of speech is the base of democracy & must be protected. I urge the @UN @realDonaldTrump to investigate this decision & put an end to this abuse & protect my rights as an Iraqi American citizen. 

Please share!” she tweeted. 

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a nongovernmental group that monitors the UN, penned a letter to UN Human Rights Council President Coly Seck asking him to take action to stop Iraq from revoking Idan’s citizenship. The letter argues that “such threats constitute overt acts of intimidation and reprisal in express violation” of UN resolutions. 


Last Modified: Saturday، 13 July 2019 12:19 AM