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UNAMI Human Rights Report
UN Mission in Iraq Calls HR Situation "Serious"
12/03/2008 2:29 PM ET
On Tuesday, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued its 13th report on the human rights situation in the country, covering the period 1 January – 30 June 2008. “During the reporting period, Iraq has witnessed substantial improvements in general security conditions, with a marked drop in violent, high-visibility, high-casualty attacks by militias or criminal gangs,” a press-release by UNAMI reads, “but the human rights situation in the country still remains serious.” “Human rights violations that are less visible need to be documented, reported and exposed publicly”, said Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-general for Iraq (SRSG). “With the support of the international community, we hope the government of Iraq will continue to address these violations and combat impunity”.

Here is what UNAMI wrote about the report...
The targeted killings of journalists, educators, medical doctors, judges and lawyers has continued, as did criminal abductions for ransom during the first six months of 2008. As Iraqi security institutions slowly and progressively asserted their control of more territory, politicians, security officials, policemen and members of pro-government militias frequently came under attack by armed groups.

During the reporting period, minorities continued to be the victims of targeted violence, threats, assassination and the destruction of property and cultural sites.

The report highlights the situation of detainees across the country that remains of serious concern, including in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Many detainees have been deprived of their liberty for month or even years, often under harsh physical conditions, without access to defense counsel, or without being formally charged with a crime or produced before a judge. Continuing allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of inmates are of particular concern. Slow bureaucratic procedures, insufficient resources, degraded infrastructure and lack of effective accountability measures result in inordinate delays in processing detainees’ cases.

The plight of women across Iraq still requires urgent measures to combat gender-based violence, including so-called honor crimes.

UNAMI reminds all parties to ensure full respect for international humanitarian law when engaged in military operations, in particular the obligation to respect the principle of proportionality and the obligation to distinguish between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects on the one hand, and military objectives on the other.

UNAMI welcomes the ratification, during the reporting period of the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the recent adoption by the Council of Representatives of the law establishing the Independent High Commission for Human Rights, for which it has advocated for several years and which represents, if properly applied, a milestone in the protection and promotion of human rights in Iraq.
Download a PDF of the entire 30-page report. UNAMI_Human_Rights_Report_January_June_2008_EN.pdf

See other UNAMI reports, about human rights and other issues here.

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