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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
UN condemns Iraq on human rights
Woman passes poster of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
The Iraqi government is accused of "grave violations"
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By Emma Jane Kirby
BBC Correspondent in Geneva

Iraq has been condemned by the United Nations' top human rights body for conducting a campaign of "all pervasive repression and widespread terror".

A resolution sponsored by the European Union was adopted by the Commission for Human Rights.

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
Iraq said the resolution ignored the effects of sanctions
Noting "with dismay" that there had been no improvement in the human rights situation in Iraq, the 53-member commission passed the EU proposal to condemn Iraq's human rights record.

Twenty-eight members voted in favour of the resolution, four voted against and 21 states abstained.

The proposal accuses President Saddam Hussein's government of "systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law".

It demands that Iraq should immediately put an end to its "summary and arbitrary executions... the use of rape as a political tool and all enforced and involuntary disappearances".

'Aggressive siege'

The head of Iraq's delegation addressed the commission shortly before the vote, asking members to reject the proposal.

He said it turned a blind eye to the "aggressive...economic siege" Iraq had been suffering since the UN imposed sanctions on the country after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Friday's vote also secures for a further year the mandate of an independent investigator for human rights in Iraq.

See also:

12 Apr 02 | Middle East
Iraq postpones UN talks
08 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Blair bids to calm Iraq fears
28 Mar 02 | Middle East
Iraq pledges to respect Kuwait
19 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iraq
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