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UN Radio Details Looming Human Catastrophe in Iraq

UN Radio Details Looming Human Catastrophe in Iraq

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ALSO: Bonus In-Depth UN Report: Toxic Smoke Polluting Iraq

Special Rapporteur on Torture is Against Use of "Moderate Physical Pressure"

The Special Rapporteur on Torture says he is against the use of torture to extract confessions in cases of terrorism. Theo Van Boven says there is a new debate on this issue launched in the United States and elsewhere. He is concerned that there is not enough public pressure against this practice:

"Now, since terrorism is seen by many states as enemy number one, there is tendency to be on human rights issues and on torture related issues, to be more flexible to justify under certain circumstances, the use of at least moderate physical pressure."

Mr. Van Boven stresses that there is absolute prohibition of torture and inhumane and cruel punishment.

Hospital Compound outside Baghdad is Badly Damaged

A hospital compound on the outskirts of Baghdad has been badly damaged. The World Health Organization has not identified those responsible for damaging the compound, which includes a maternity hospital, a surgical hospital and the headquarters of the Iraq Red Crescent Society. WHO spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib says no casualties were reported since the buildings had been evacuated recently:

"However, outside the hospital 27 people were injured and three people died. This is the fourth confirmed report of damage to medical facilities during this conflict."

Measles Outbreak Reported in the North of Iraq

There are reports of a measles outbreak in a village in the north of Iraq. The World Health Organization and the UN Children's Fund are now considering measures, including an emergency vaccination campaign, to contain the highly infectious disease. Here again is WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib:

"The outbreak was clinically confirmed. At least 20 children between the ages of 6 and 15 are currently affected by the outbreak."

Condition of Iraqi Child Injured by Landmine Remains Critical

The United Nations Children's Fund says the condition of one of the boys who was injured while playing with a landmine in northern Iraq last week remains critical. The two brothers and their male cousin are suffering from severe injuries and burns. UNICEF spokesman in Amman, Jordan, Geoffrey Keele says the boys are victims of a lethal legacy of a previous war in Iraq:

"The older of the two brothers, whose age is six years old, has had to have both his hands amputated. He is suffering a severe facial injury and chest burns. He is currently in intensive care and being treated at the Dohouk emergency hospital."

UNICEF is deeply concerned about the impact of the war on children and women in Iraq.

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