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Iraq / Wikileaks: statement by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

GENEVA (26 October 2010)– “The files reportedly indicate that the US knew, among other things, about widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces, and yet proceeded with the transfer of thousands of persons who had been detained by US forces to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010. The files also allegedly include information on many undisclosed instances in which US forces killed civilians at checkpoints and during operations.

The information adds to the High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law have occurred in Iraq, including summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses, in line with obligations under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which both the US and Iraq are parties.

The High Commissioner calls upon Iraq to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol, which gives the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment the right to visit all places of detention and examine the treatment of persons detained.

High Commissioner Pillay also urges the Iraqi Government to facilitate visits of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Teams to monitor the human rights situation in detention facilities so that necessary advice and assistance can be provided to the Iraqi authorities.”

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT): http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat.htm

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT): http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat-one.htm

OHCHR Country Page – USA: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/USIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page –Iraq: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/IQIndex.aspx

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Media Unit
Xabier Celaya, Information Officer: + 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org