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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Tuesday 16 February (morning)

Country under review: IRAQ

Concerned country - national report

  • Represented by a 22-person delegation and headed by the Minister for Human Rights, H.E. Mrs. Wijdan Salim
  • National report presented by H.E. Mrs. Wijdan Salim

Highlights

  • Torture and ill treatment constitutionally prohibited and confessions extracted by such means are invalid in court.
  • Drafting national laws to combat trafficking in persons and financing of terrorism, as well as to ensure freedom of expression and assembly.
  • Capital punishment imposed only for the most serious crimes. 122 death sentences carried out over the past five years.
  • Reforms to improve the level of education.
  • Commitment to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion

  • Member States: 31
  • Observer States: 26

Positive achievements

  • 27% of the current members of Parliament are women.
  • Five-year plan to promote and protect human rights.
  • Establishment of the Ministry for Human Rights.
  • Efforts to address poor prison conditions and bring all detention facilities under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.
  • Commitment to democratic elections.
  • Legislation to establish an independent High Commission for Human Rights.
  • Ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

 
Issues and questions raised

  • Reintroduction of the death penalty.
  • Torture and other ill treatment. Existence of unofficial detention centres.
  • Honour killings.
  • Culture of impunity.
  • Threats and violence against religious, ethnic and linguistic minorities.
  • Attacks against and killings of homosexuals.
  • Freedom of press.

Recommendations

  • Re-establish a moratorium on the death penalty with the view to abolishing it.
  • Bring all de facto detention facilities under the authority of the government.
  • Work to eliminate detention without charge and trial and ensure transparency for all sentences.
  • Investigate all human rights abuses, in particular allegations of torture.
  • Take steps to combat religion-based intolerance.
  • Strengthen measures to eradicate violence against women and girls and raise social awareness on their rights.
  • Take measures to promote and protect the rights of minorities.
  • Take steps to end intimidation and abuses against journalists and human rights defenders.
  • Repeal article 128 of the Criminal Code which identifies “the commission of an offence with honourable motives” as a mitigating excuse.
  • Extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Response of the concerned country

  • Capital Punishment – Death penalty due to the extraordinary circumstances in Iraq, e.g.  terrorism. All death sentences subject to multiple appeals and confessions not considered valid unless verified by other evidence.
  • Rights of Women – Working on the abrogation of law permitting killing or disciplining of women (already abolished in Kurdistan). Cooperation with the United Nations to promote women rights.
  • Trafficking in Persons – Pursuing the process of adoption of a national law to deal with this issue.
  • Prisons and Detention Centres – 574 violations of human rights related to torture and ill treatment have been recorded with over 150 prosecutions carried out. 4 rehabilitation centres established for victims of torture.
  • Education – Education is a right enshrined in the Constitution and is cost free.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Friday 19 February, 15:00–15:30

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