[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 01:57 GMT 02:57 UK
Coalition 'focused on oilfields'
Peshmerga fighter on patrol as smoke rises from a burning oil field near Mosul, northern Iraq
Washington and London say any oil profits will go to the Iraqi people
Human rights organisation Amnesty International has accused the US and British forces in Iraq of working harder to protect the country's oilfields than the Iraqi people.

Its secretary general, Irene Khan, said more effort was needed to defend the country's hospitals, water supplies and people.

"Much planning and resources seem to have been devoted to securing Iraqi oilfields," she said.

"However, there is scarce evidence of similar levels of planning and allocation of resources for securing public and other institutions essential for the survival and well-being of the population."

Ms Kahn described the US-UK response to the breakdown of law and order as "shockingly inadequate".

Looting and violence had caused many Iraqis to be displaced, with insufficient efforts to restore order, she said.

"The first taste of the coalition's approach to law and order will not have inspired confidence in the Iraqi people," she said.

"Protecting people should be a primary responsibility of any power that expects to enter a country and justifies its intervention on the basis of liberating the people or protecting their rights."

Washington and London reject suggestions that the invasion of Iraq was motivated by its large oil reserves, and say subsequent oil profits will go to the Iraqi people.

Objection to Kurdish groups

Ms Khan also said coalition forces must vet potential police officers to make sure no-one accused of human rights abuses was reinstated in the police force.

"We're not calling for the end of the occupation, just as we didn't call on the UK and the US to go into Iraq, but now they're in Iraq, they must carry out their responsibilities," she said.

Amnesty also objects to leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) taking part in a new government because of alleged human rights violations during a civil war in the mid-1990s.

Amnesty said the groups, which have shared control of northern Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, were responsible for many civilian deaths and widespread torture.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific