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Human rights situation in Iraq remains fragile – UN report

8 August 2011

Human rights situation in Iraq remains fragile – UN report

Baghdad/Geneva – A UN report into the human rights situation in Iraq over the course of 2010 has warned that armed violence and “silent” human rights violations continue to affect large sectors of the population.

The report, released today by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), studies a range of human rights issues, including the impact of armed conflict and violence on civilians, detention and the rule of law, and protection of the rights of specific groups. The report also covers the state of political rights in the country, including freedom of assembly and expression. It noted that while there was improvement in some areas, many challenges remain.

“Widespread poverty, economic stagnation, lack of opportunities, environmental degradation and an absence of basic services constitute ‘silent’ human rights violations that affect large sectors of the population,” the report notes.

“Armed violence continued to impact negatively on civilian infrastructure,” the report notes, adding that such violence not only leads to arbitrary loss of life and injury, but also limits access to other basic rights, including the right to access basic humanitarian services, and the rights of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

According to UNAMI and Government estimates, around 3,000 civilians were killed in ongoing violence in 2010, largely perpetrated by armed insurgents and terrorist groups. Members of minorities, women and children continue to suffer disproportionately from indiscriminate and targeted violence. Significant problems remain with law enforcement and the administration of justice, especially in relation to the provision and respect for due process and fair trial rights. While the report noted some improvement in the physical conditions of many detention facilities and prisons, incidents of abuse and torture remain widely reported. An over-reliance on confessions to convict encourages an environment where the torture of detainees takes place, the report notes.

“Ending impunity also remains a serious challenge in Iraq,” the report states. “Perpetrators of crimes committed over many years continue to be unaccountable. A number of mass graves were discovered during the year containing the victims of various human rights abuses committed at various times over the past few decades.”

The report also notes that women’s rights in some ways deteriorated in 2010 and children continue to suffer from violence and armed conflict, in some instances having been recruited or used to commit acts of violence. Minorities suffered from a number of attacks.

“The human rights situation throughout Iraq remains fragile,” the report notes. The report also makes a number of recommendations to address the enormous challenges that the Government and people of Iraq are facing.

Information for the report was gathered from direct monitoring by UNAMI as well as from a variety of other sources, including Government, UN Agencies, civil society and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

To see full report, click here.

OHCHR Country Page – Iraq: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/IQIndex.aspx

ENDS

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