Iraq's human rights progress in question as violence takes its toll: UN report

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Martin Kobler

"Despite some progress, human rights in Iraq are under further threat from mounting violence", according to the latest Report on Human Rights in Iraq.

Of primary concern is the upturn in armed violence. At least 3,238 civilians were killed and more than 10,300 injured in 2012 in a worrying reversal of the trend that had seen violence decline in recent years.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Martin Kobler says "The return to high casualty figures means that much more needs to be done to protect civilians", adding "We have consistently urged Iraqi leaders to engage in dialogue and develop policies that address the root causes of the problem".

According to the report, Iraq is also yet to respond to UN and international calls for a moratorium on the death penalty.

And Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says "Weaknesses in the criminal justice system mean that the death sentence is often handed down under questionable circumstances in Iraq". She explains that "With 123 prisoners executed in 2012, there is a great risk that the worst miscarriages of justice imaginable are taking place…" .

The UN welcomed progress made to implement the National Action Plan on Human Rights, and a number of laws passed by the Council of Representatives. It called for further efforts to empower the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights and to reduce interference by political blocs.

The report, published by the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), provides an overview of the human rights situation in Iraq from 1 July to 31 December 2012.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’31″

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