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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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KHRP Raises Ongoing Human Rights Concerns in Iraq Prior to its Assessment by the UPR
Monday, 15 February 2010 12:04

As the 7th Session of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) continues, tomorrow the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will turn its attention to the human rights situation in Iraq.

Recent KHRP fact-finding missions have identified that despite the relatively comprehensive set of legal provisions and a number of offices, committees and ministries concerned with human rights, ongoing human rights problems persist with regards to judicial processes, women’s rights, minority rights, freedom of expression and internal displacement in Kurdistan, Iraq. In advance of this review, KHRP would like to bring to light that not only is the administrative infrastructure to implement and oversee human rights standards grossly inadequate, but awareness of human rights and avenues to prevent violations and to seek to redress is also severely lacking amongst the civilian population and the State authorities.

As highlighted by KHRP’s report, A Fact-Finding Mission in Kurdistan, Iraq: Gaps in the Human Rights Infrastructure, recourse to Ba’athist law or tribal custom has promoted corruption, clientelism and patronage. Meanwhile the absence of a coherent strategy and a lack of investment from the international community have meant that existing public mechanisms and human rights training programmes have not succeeded. Chronic infrastructural underdevelopment has been further compounded by the persistence of Turkish and Iranian cross-border incursions into northern Iraq. These continue to cause death and debilitating injuries, traumatise the affected communities, especially children, and destroy traditional village modes of life through the destruction of livelihoods and property.

KHRP urges the KRG and central government to work with the UNHCR to ensure better living conditions for those displaced by the cross-border operations; facilitate access for media and other concerned organisations to the affected areas, and to work towards a diplomatic solution to the conflict with Turkey and Iran. More widely, KHRP urges the KRG and the central government of Iraq to urgently seek international expertise and financial support to help establish a strategic action plan to instruct law enforcement, village leaders and ordinary citizens about their domestic and international human rights obligations. Through the professional development of those within the judicial system, it can further promote conformity in the application and implementation of relevant human rights provisions. Legal mechanisms and avenues available to survivors of human rights abuse must also be far more clearly defined, with special attention given to women’s rights.

‘As a UN-mandated process, the UPR remains instrumental in ensuring accountability and respect for human rights worldwide’, said KHRP Chief Executive Kerim Yildiz. ‘KHRP hopes that the KRG and Iraqi central governments will seize this important opportunity to review their protection of human rights, and that international actors will play their part by working with their Iraqi counterparts to advance existing efforts towards civil-society and democracy-building.’