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UN Official Deplores Latest Bombings in Iraq

Top UN Official Deplores Latest Bombings in Iraqi Capital

24 November 2008 – The top United Nations envoy to Iraq has strongly condemned the series of bombings that struck Baghdad today, killing and injuring innocent civilians on their way to work.

At least 18 people have reportedly been killed in the two rush-hour attacks in the Iraqi capital, which witnessed a double bombing earlier this month that killed dozens of innocent civilians and wounding many others.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, expressed great concern at the recent spike in violence in Baghdad and urged all parties to deny those behind such “repugnant” attacks the opportunity to undermine efforts to thwart the country’s fragile stability.

There are no moral or political excuses that could possibly justify the deliberate targeting of innocent citizens whose only crime was to try to get to their place of work “There are no moral or political excuses that could possibly justify the deliberate targeting of innocent citizens whose only crime was to try to get to their place of work,” he said in a news release issued by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Mr. de Mistura extended the UN’s sincere condolences to the bereaved families and its wishes for the full and speedy recovery of the wounded.

The latest violence comes as the fledgling democracy prepares for provincial elections, slated for 31 January 2009, the first provincial polls to be held in the country since 2005.

In his briefing to the Security Council over a week ago, Mr. de Mistura stressed that Iraq is entering a critical period as it prepares for the upcoming polls, while cautioning that the potential for election-related violence and instability remains.

Meanwhile, IraqInfo, a new user-friendly national database that provides wide-ranging recent information on social development in Iraq was formally launched today at a ceremony in Baghdad.

“IraqInfo will be very useful to support national and sub-national development planning,” said Paolo Lembo, Country Director for the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The web-based database system allows allows for the disaggregation of economic, social and demographic data by region and sector, rural versus urban and by gender enabling performance to be monitored at both national and governorate levels and allowing comparisons on progress among regions.

“Such information will allow for efficient decision making, policy development and resource allocation,” noted Mr. Lembo.

Work on the project, which uses DevInfo software developed by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), began earlier this year and included the efforts of the Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT), the Kurdistan Region Statistical Office (KRSO), UNICEF, UNDP and the Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

UNICEF Representative Sikander Khan commended efforts to date and pledged the agency’s support to expand the use of IraqInfo to all government institutions at all governorates in the country.

“It is essential for each governorate to have their own data to help determine the challenges and respond accordingly to deliver tangible results and positive change for the people of Iraq,” he stated.

ENDS

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