SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

Iraq | International

UN urges international Iraq probe
by BBC (reposted)
Friday Nov 18th, 2005 6:51 AM
The UN's top human rights official has called for an international probe into the conditions for detainees in Iraq.

Louise Arbour said it was "essential" following allegations of torture at an interior ministry detention centre.

"An international element would help address problems in the system in an impartial and objective way," she said.

The authorities started their own inquiry after 170 prisoners, some showing signs of apparent torture, were found by US troops on Sunday.

Iraqi officials promised a full investigation and said the perpetrators would be punished, but Sunni Arab groups said only an international inquiry would have credibility.

Most of the detainees are believed to have been Sunni Arabs - the main group involved in the insurgency.

Sunni leader Saleh Mutlaq has accused the government of holding more than 1,100 prisoners at the ministry and suggested a number of them had been tortured to death.

Lengthy internment

"In the light of the apparently systemic nature and magnitude of the problem, and the importance of public confidence in any inquiry, I urge the authorities to consider calling for an international inquiry," Ms Arbour said in Geneva.

Ms Arbour - who is UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - also expressed concern about the high number of people held in detention in Iraq.

Read More
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4449256.stm
by ALJ
Friday Nov 18th, 2005 6:57 AM
United Nations human rights chief Louise Arbour has called for an international investigation into conditions in Iraqi jails after accusations of serious abuse of detainees at a secret Interior Ministry detention centre.

The Iraqi government has already announced an inquiry into the discovery of 173 malnourished, and in some cases badly beaten, men and teenagers, some of whom showed signs of having been tortured.

But given the high level of international concern and the importance of reassuring Iraqis, an internal investigation might not be enough, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement on Friday.

"In the light of the apparently systemic nature and magnitude of the problem, and the importance of public confidence in any inquiry, I urge the authorities to consider calling for an international inquiry," Arbour said.

"An international element would help the authorities address the problems in the system of detention in an impartial and objective way," she added.

International investigation

Her call echoed that of Sunni Arab politicians who have demanded an international investigation into allegations that Shia militias linked to Iraq's Interior Ministry were behind the torture and abuse of prisoners.

The underground bunker, part of a fortified building near the ministry's Baghdad compound, was discovered by US troops during a search on 13 November in a development likely to fuel sectarian tensions ahead of 15 December parliamentary elections.

The detainees' discovery was a major embarrassment for the US-backed government, which has promised to deliver human rights after decades of dictatorship under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/C3A21947-549F-49C1-9140-49B8A8DACFA6.htm