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U.S. Statement on the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Iraq
February 16, 2010

Archival Photo of the Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council – Archive Photo

UN Human Rights Council
the UPR Working group Seventh Session

Consideration of UPR Reports

Report of the UPR Working Group on Iraq

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Douglas Griffiths

February 16, 2010
Geneva, Switzerland

Thank you, Mr. President.

We welcome this opportunity to participate in the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Iraq and we welcome the Minister of Human Rights and the rest of the Iraqi delegation. We view this as an opportunity to collaborate with government representatives, non-governmental organizations, and UN officials who share our strong interest in helping Iraq’s democratically elected government improve the human rights situation. We hope to see the new government sustain and improve its commitment to human rights by standing up and empowering the constitutionally-mandated Human Rights Commission.

We commend Iraq’s efforts to improve respect for human rights and address poor prison conditions, investigate allegations of detainee abuse, and bring all detention facilities and prisons under the authority of the Ministry of Justice. To make further progress, we recommend that Iraq complete the transfer of detainees to Ministry of Justice custody. Additionally, we recommend that Iraq continue to improve conditions in Ministry-operated facilities and hold accountable any law enforcement official suspected of involvement in torture, abuse, or coerced confessions.

The United States is deeply concerned about the protection of vulnerable communities, in particular religious and ethnic minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Continued attacks on religious places of worship, kidnappings of clerics, and other sectarian violence hamper the ability of Iraqis to practice their religion freely. The Government’s role in providing security for minority communities and allowing them to expand their full political rights needs to be strengthened. We welcome Iraq’s efforts to investigate acts of violence and intimidation against minority communities, and recommend that Iraq continue to combat the culture of impunity surrounding violence against these vulnerable populations. We recommend that Iraq thoroughly investigate crimes against women and minorities and fully implement laws intended to enforce constitutional protections for women and minorities, including laws against discrimination, and extend greater protection for these groups from targeted attacks.

We recommend that Iraq make efforts to ensure that all Iraqis, including religious minorities, can participate in elections that are safe, fair, and free of intimidation and violence, and make certain that the new government fully protects religious freedom.

The United States further recommends that Iraq do more to ensure that the hard-fought freedom of expression is guaranteed by the government and protected under Iraqi laws and in Iraqi courts. The United States also recommends that Iraq take steps to end intimidation and abuse of journalists by government officials and hold all perpetrators of violence against and harassment of journalists fully accountable.

Thank you.