UN begins collecting information for report on human rights situation in Iraq

4 May 2004

The United Nations human rights office has begun collecting information for a report on civil liberties in Iraq and hopes to complete it by the end of this month, a spokesman for the office said today in Geneva.

Acting High Commissioner Bertrand Ramcharan has also added his voice to the expressions of revulsion regarding reports and photographs depicting the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by coalition forces, José Luis Díaz, spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in response to questions at a press briefing.

Because UN international staff cannot travel to Iraq, the report is being compiled from information gathered through the media, the coalition authorities, the Iraqi Governing Council, the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Red Cross and local UN staff, Mr. Díaz said.

Once completed, it will be submitted to the UN Commission on Human Rights, he added.

On the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners, Mr. Díaz said all such incidents should be investigated and those found responsible brought to justice. Mr. Ramcharan noted that coalition authorities had indicated that they would do just that, and he looked forward to seeing the results of such enquiries, the spokesman said.