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Iraq: International Probe into Alleged Torture, UN

Iraq: UN Rights Chief Calls for International Probe into Alleged
Torture of Detainees

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today called for an international investigation into conditions of detention in Iraq, saying the recent discovery in an Interior Ministry building of detainees who appeared to have been tortured pointed to widespread problems with the system of detention.

“In announcing a probe into conditions of detention, the Government has acknowledged the problem. But in light of the apparently systemic nature and magnitude of that problem, and the importance of public confidence in any inquiry, I urge the authorities to consider calling for an international inquiry,” she added in a statement.

An international element would help the authorities address the situation in an impartial and objective way, which is crucial to fostering an environment of respect for human rights and, ultimately, to achieving national reconciliation,” Ms. Arbour said.

She noted that in addition to their treatment, the large number of detainees in Iraq was “a matter of worry,” adding that while progress in reviewing cases had led to the release of hundreds of detainees, the overall number continued to increase due to mass arrests carried out during security and military operations.

“There is an urgent need to provide remedy to lengthy internment for security reasons without adequate judicial oversight,” she said, adding that she was also concerned over reports from Mosul and other places that Interior Ministry officials continue to detain hundreds of individuals despite judicial orders for their release.

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