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Acting UN human rights chief calls for accountability for Iraqi rights

Acting UN human rights chief calls for accountability for Iraqi rights

While lauding the work of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the acting UN chief for human rights said since the body had puzzlingly excluded Iraq from its decisions on rights in armed conflicts, he would initiate the compilation of such a report.

"You have adopted decisions on several country situations where there has been conflict in the recent past. A notable exception is the situation in Iraq," Acting High Commissioner Bertrand Ramcharan told the 53-member body in a wide-ranging speech about its sixtieth session, which ended Friday.

Among the Commission's final decisions before it ended its six-week session were to appoint Special Rapporteurs on the situations in Belarus and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and one to examine the trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

"It is a perplexing and troubling omission. There must be accountability in warfare. At this point in time there is no international monitoring of the human rights situation in Iraq, whether it be in respect of terrorism or in respect of the use of force and the treatment of civilians," he said.

Conflicts are prevalent in the world and the commission had effectively elaborated a policy on ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian during armed conflicts, he said.

He said he would compile an Iraqi report, "using the competence of the High Commissioner, whose functions I have been carrying out for the past year."

Mr. Ramcharan said he had also initiated fact-finding exercises on the Darfur region in western Sudan, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire.