UN report: Human rights situation in Iraq
and Kurdistan remains fragile
Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the
Secretary-General, and Head of the UN Assistance
Mission for Iraq. UN Photo/B. Ekberzade
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May 31, 2012
BAGHDAD/NEW YORK, — The human rights
situation in Iraq remains fragile as the country
continues its transition to peace and democracy
after years of violence, according to a United
Nations report released today, noting that
Government efforts to protect and promote the rights
of its citizens need to be increased.
“This report highlights a number of shortcomings,
some of which are of serious concern and need to be
urgently addressed by the Iraqi authorities. There
is no democracy without respect for human rights,”
the Secretary-General's Special Representative for
Iraq, Martin Kobler, said in a news release.
The report is a periodic one on the Middle Eastern
country's human rights situation, prepared by the UN
Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) – which Mr.
Kobler heads – in cooperation with the Office of the
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The report recognizes that the Government has made
progress in implementing measures to improve the
situation, but notes that the impact of these
measures is still limited.
“Steps have been taken to improve the human rights
record of Iraq, including the establishment of the
much needed Independent Human Rights Commission on 9
April 2012, but a lot more needs to be done,” Mr.
Kobler said. “Human rights, including social and
economic rights, need to be enforced, respected and
protected for all Iraqis everywhere in Iraq.”
The report indicates that the overall human rights
situation in the Kurdistan Region has improved, in
particular due to legislative reforms undertaken by
the Kurdistan regional government. However, there
remain concerns about deficiencies in respect for
freedom of assembly,www.ekurd.net
freedom of expression and the protection of
In a news release, the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Navi Pillay, noted that the report
highlights serious concerns about the administration
of justice and the lack of respect for due process
rights in Iraq.
“Individuals continue to be arrested and detained
for prolonged periods without being charged and
without access to legal counsel. Prisoner and
detainee abuse and torture are also occurring across
the country,” Ms. Pillay said. “I urge the Iraqi
authorities to prioritise the firm establishment of
the rule of law and human rights in Iraq and bring
an end to such abuses.”
The human rights chief also called on the
authorities to ensure that journalists and human
rights defenders are able to perform their work
without fear of harassment and violence.
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