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Department Seal


TITLE:  IRAQ HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Political power in Iraq is concentrated in a repressive 
one-party apparatus under the domination of Saddam Hussein.  
The provisional Constitution of 1968 stipulates that the Arab 
Ba'ath Socialist Party (ABSP) governs Iraq through the 
Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), which exercises both 
executive and legislative authority.  Saddam Hussein wields 
decisive power as Chairman of the RCC, Secretary General of the 
Regional Command of the ABSP, and President of the Republic.

Ethnically and linguistically, the Iraqi population includes 
Arabs, Kurds, Turcomans, Yazidis, and Armenians.  The religious 
mix is likewise varied:  Shi'a and Sunni (both Arab and 
Kurdish) Muslims, Christians (including Chaldeans and 
Assyrians), and Jews.  Ethnic divisions have resulted in civil 
uprisings in recent years, especially in the north and south.  
The Government has reacted against the people in those areas 
with severely repressive measures.

The Government's security apparatus, which includes militias 
attached to the President, the ABSP, and the Interior Ministry, 
has been responsible for widespread and systematic human rights 
abuses; security forces play a central role in maintaining the 
intimidation and fear on which government power rests.

The Government controls Iraq's oil-based economy and owns all 
the major industries.  Damaged by the Gulf war and subjected to 
a series of U.N. sanctions as a result of Iraq's 1990 invasion 
of Kuwait, the economy remains in poor condition.  U.N. 
sanctions ban all Iraqi exports and all imports except food, 
medicine, and materials and supplies for essential civilian 
needs.  Iraq's failure to comply with United Nations Security 
Council resolutions has led to repeated Security Council 
extensions of the sanctions. 

Iraq's abysmal record on human rights did not improve in 1993. 
Systematic violations of human rights continued in virtually 
all categories in 1993; these included mass executions of 
political opponents, widespread use of torture, extreme 
repression of ethnic groups, disappearances, denial of due 
process, and arbitrary detention.  Furthermore, tens of 
thousands of political killings and disappearances remained 
unresolved from previous years.  Owing to the efforts that the 

*Because the United States has no embassy in Iraq, this report 
draws to a large extent on non-U.S. Government sources.

Government takes to conceal its human rights abuses, however, 
it is difficult to know precisely the details and numbers of 
such practices.  Citizens do not have the right to change their 
government, and the freedoms of expression and association do 
not exist, except in Kurdish-controlled areas in the north.  

Indiscriminate military operations in the south--which included 
burning and razing of villages, emplacement of bombs in 
civilian areas, and the forced relocation of noncombatant 
inhabitants--were directed primarily against Shi'a Arabs living 
in the southern wetlands.  In the north, the regime maintained 
an internal embargo on the importation of food, medicine, and 
fuel.  Elsewhere, it diverted humanitarian supplies to its own 
supporters and the military.  In violation of U.N. Security 
Council resolutions, the Government also continued its flagrant 
interference with the international community's provision of 
humanitarian assistance.  Relief workers were harrassed, 
intimidated, and, in some cases, killed.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

The Iraqi regime has a long record of executing perceived 
opponents.  In 1993, as in past years, the U.N. Special 
Rapporteur expressed dismay at Iraq's liberal use of the death 
penalty for a full range of political offenses such as 
insulting the President or the Ba'ath Party.  Throughout the 
fall of 1993, there were numerous credible reports that the 
regime had executed a number of persons (including some members 
of Saddam Hussein's family and tribe) who were allegedly 
involved in a coup plot against him.  High-ranking civilian, 
military, and tribal leaders were reported among those killed. 

The Free Iraqi Council (FIC), an Iraqi opposition organization 
based in London, reported a mass execution of prisoners at the 
Al-Radwaniyah prison near Baghdad in August (see also Section 
1.c.).  At the end of the year this incident remained 

As in 1992, numerous Shi'a civilians from southern Iraq 
reportedly were arrested and removed to detention centers in 
the central part of the country.  Shi'a witnesses who survived 
arrest and detention later reported that some of their comrades 
had been executed (see also Section 1.g.).

Political killings and terrorist actions also were frequent in 
the north and often were directed against civilians and 
third-country nationals involved in the relief effort.   Seven 
relief workers (one Australian, one Belgian, and five local 
employees of international nongovernmental organizations) were 
killed, and several others were injured.

In January an Assyrian delegate to the local legislature in the 
north was killed under suspicious circumstances.  That same 
month, a car bomb in Irbil killed 11 civilians and injured 128; 
regional authorities alleged that Iraqi authorities were 
responsible.  In January a man carrying explosives was arrested 
in Dohuk; while in the custody of the local authorities, he 
claimed he had been recruited by Iraqi forces to place the 
explosives in a U.N. vehicle in exchange for 200,000 Iraqi 
dinars.  In many of these incidents, however, it was not 
possible to determine who was responsible--Iraqi agents; local 
Kurds who had been coerced or recruited for pay; agents of the 
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Turkish-based Kurdish 
resistance movement; or lone perpetrators.

In 1993 new information was developed concerning the so-called 
Anfal campaign ("Spoils" in Arabic) of 1988, in which tens of 
thousands of Kurds reportedly lost their lives.  The Anfal 
remains the most prominent example of political killing in 
Iraq.  Most of the Kurds who were initially arrested during the 
Anfal have never been seen again and are presumed to have been 
killed in official custody (see Sections 1.b. and 1.g.).

     b.  Disappearance

As in previous years, Iraqis continued to disappear without 
explanation, reportedly while in the custody of government 
authorities.  In February the U.N. Special Rapporteur reported 
that he was continuing to receive "regular and consistent 
reports on disappearances."  He stated that he was in 
possession of the names of 5,000 persons whose cases had not 
yet been addressed by the U.N. Working Group on Enforcement on 
Involuntary Disappearances.  These were in addition to the 
9,447 names that the Working Group already had transmitted to 
the Iraqi Government in prior years and another 2,000 cases 
that the working group is presently investigating.

Of the total number of disappeared persons for whom the U.N. 
has documentation (more than 16,000 cases), the Special 
Rapporteur noted that most date from the Anfal period but that 
500 are as recent as 1992.  Amnesty International (AI) reported 
that it has the names of more than 17,000 Kurds who disappeared 
during the Anfal and are presumed dead.  It is not clear to 
what extent the Amnesty International and U.N. records 
duplicate each other or represent different lists of 
disappeared Kurds.

As a result of his investigations, the Special Rapporteur 
stated, he had arrived at the conclusion that the total figure 
for disappeared Kurds during Anfal could number in the "tens of 
thousands."  Middle East Watch places the figure at between 
50,000 and 100,000.

In addition to the Anfal disappearances, two other examples of 
outstanding large-scale disappearances are the Barzani arrests 
of 1983, in which thousands of relatives and tribesmen of the 
late Kurdish nationalist hero Mustapha Barzani were rounded up 
and taken into custody, and the al-Khoei case of 1991, in which 
the late Grand Ayatollah Abdul Qasim al-Khoei and 108 of his 
associates--including Iraqis, Iranians, Indians, Pakistanis, 
Lebanese, and Bahrainis--were arrested.  None of the Barzani 
detainees were ever seen again.  In the al-Khoei case, the 
Ayatollah died while under house arrest in al-Najaf, and only 
two of the persons arrested with him were ever seen again.

In 1993 AI, having received no satisfactory response to its 
repeated inquiries to the Government in regard to the al-Khoei 
disappearances, published a report on these unresolved cases, 
calling Iraq's response "inadequate, vague, or contradictory." 

Iraq has failed to return or account for a large number of 
Kuwaiti citizens and third-country nationals taken to Iraq 
during the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and has denied any 
knowledge of missing persons.  U.N. Security Council resolution 
(UNSCR) 687 requires Iraq to "facilitate" the search for and 
the repatriation of those still missing.  In March the 
Government of Kuwait transmitted to the Government of Iraq, 
through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 
the case files of more than 600 persons still believed to be 
missing in Iraq.  For the first time, Iraq publicized the names 
of the missing.  However, it stated that it had no information 
indicating that the missing persons ever had been in Iraqi 

Except for 15 who were reportedly executed in 1992, there has 
been no accounting for a group of 146 Iraqi Turcomans from the 
Kirkuk area, reported to have been detained since May and June 
1992.  A group of 19 Iraqi Army officers reportedly arrested in 
the summer of 1992 also have disappeared.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Although Iraq is a party to international human rights 
conventions which abjure the use of torture and the 
Constitution forbids the practice, torture is routinely 
conducted by the Iraqi security services.  The Special 
Rapporteur reported in February, as he has in previous years, 
that the Government of Iraq continues to engage in "systematic" 
torture, both physical and psychological.  According to persons 
who have left Iraq after release from prison, techniques 
employed by the security services include electric shocks 
administered to the genitals and other sensitive areas, 
beatings, burnings with hot irons, suspension from ceiling 
fans, dripping acid on the skin, rape, breaking of limbs, 
denial of food and water, and threats to rape or otherwise harm 

Certain prisons in Iraq have long been notorious for routine 
mistreatment of prisoners.  Al-Rashidiya prison, on the Tigris 
River north of Taji, reportedly contains torture chambers in 
its basement.  Another prison, Al-Shamma'iya, located in east 
Baghdad, is reportedly the site of both torture and 

Al-Radwaniyah prison (see Section 1.a.), a former prisoner-
of-war facility near Baghdad, is reportedly the site of torture 
and arbitrary killings, including mass execution by firing 
squad.  According to Middle East Watch, Al-Radwaniyah was the 
principal detention center for persons arrested following the 
civil uprisings of 1991.  Many persons taken into custody in 
connection with the uprisings have not been seen since.  Two 
executions by firing squad reportedly took place at 
Al-Radwaniyah in 1992 and another in August 1993.  

The Special Rapporteur and AI named both Al-Radwaniyah and 
another Baghdad prison, Abu Ghraib, as sites where torture and 
disappearances have recently occurred.  Multiple executions 
also reportedly took place at Abu Ghraib in the fall of 1993, 
in retaliation for alleged coup plots against the Government 
(see Section 1.a.).

Iraqi security forces are alleged to have engaged in the rape 
of captured civilians during the Anfal campaign of 1988 and the 
occupation of Kuwait and subsequent Gulf war of 1990-91.  
However, the Iraqi Government has never acknowledged or taken 
any action to investigate these reported crimes.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Although the Constitution and Legal Code explicitly prohibit 
arbitrary arrest and detention, these practices are widely 
used.  In his February 1993 report, the U.N. Special Rapporteur 
cited more than 100 detention and interrogation sites, 
including military and security bases and such unconventional 
locales as mosques, public buildings, and supermarket basements.

In his November report, the U.N. Special Rapporteur reported 
that approximately 100 persons were arrested in Basrah on 
August 26, ostensibly because they were not carrying 
identification papers.  The Special Rapporteur also reported 
that the regime continued in 1993 to target Shi'a clergy for 
arbitrary arrest and other human rights abuses.

Several foreign nationals were arrested arbitrarily and held in 
Iraq in 1993, and others who were arrested in previous years 
remained in detention.  On April 25 an American citizen and oil 
worker living in Kuwait disappeared near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti 
border and in May was charged by Iraqi authorities with illegal 
entry and espionage.  He was tried, found guilty of illegal 
entry, and sentenced to 8 years in prison.  Subsequently, he 
was released on November 15.  (See also Section 1.e. for 
details of similar cases illustrating the lack of fair trial.)

While there is currently no known policy of exiling Iraqi 
citizens abroad, the refusal of Iraqi authorities to allow tens 
of thousands of Kurds and Turcomans to return to their homes in 
Kirkuk and Mosul amounts to a policy of internal exile (see 
Section 2.d.).

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Although the Revolutionary Court system was abolished in 1991, 
the change was cosmetic.  Iraq retains a bifurcated judicial 
system, encompassing distinct treatment for all cases deemed to 
have a security component and a more conventional court system 
to handle other charges.  The President may override any court 
decision, and there are no checks on his power.

The procedural rules applicable in the regular (i.e., 
nonsecurity) court system theoretically provide many basic 
protections.  However, the regime often assigns to the security 
courts cases which, on their merits, would appear to fall under 
the jurisdiction of the regular courts.

The regular courts provide for investigation by police and then 
by an inquiry judge, who may refer a case to the courts or 
dismiss it.  Trials are open to public view, and defendants are 
entitled to counsel--at government expense if the defendant is 
indigent.  Charges and evidence are available for review by 
counsel.  Judges try criminal cases; there are no juries.  
Convictions may be appealed to the Court of Appeal and then to 
the Court of Cassation, Iraq's high court.  

There are no Shari'a (Islamic) courts as such in Iraq; however, 
family courts administer Shari'a law according to Iraqi custom.

Special security courts have jurisdiction in all cases 
involving espionage and treason, peaceful political dissent, 
smuggling, currency exchange violations, and drug trafficking.  
Defendants are often held incommunicado, and confessions 
extracted by torture are admissible and often serve as the 
basis for conviction.  In theory, verdicts may be appealed to 
the Chairman of the RCC.  In practice, many cases appear to end 
in summary execution shortly after trial.

An array of ABSP and presidential decrees defines political 
dissent as encompassing a wide range of activities.  Persons 
suspected of engaging in dissent are routinely imprisoned 
without charge or trial or after trials that do not meet 
minimum standards of fairness.

Two British citizens, arrested in 1992 for illegal entry, 
continued to be held for most of 1993.  They had been given 
prison sentences of 7 and 10 years, respectively.  Referring to 
these two cases in his February report, the U.N. Special 
Rapporteur commented on the "disproportionately lengthy 
sentences for the crimes allegedly committed."  In December the 
British prisoners were abruptly released after British 
officials interceded with President Saddam Hussein.  (See also 
Section 1.d. for details of a similar case illustrating 
arbitrary arrest.)

Because the Government rarely makes public acknowledgement of 
arrests or imprisonments, it is difficult to estimate the 
number of political prisoners.  Many of the tens of thousands 
of persons who have disappeared or been killed in recent years 
were originally held as political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Government frequently disregards constitutional protections 
of the right to privacy, particularly in situations in which 
national security is deemed to be involved.  Iraq broadly 
defines security offenses, and security authorities in 
virtually all circumstances are exempt from the legal 
requirement to obtain a search warrant before entering a 
suspect's home.  Among the targets of such abuse in 1993 were 
the Shi'a Arabs of the southern marshes (see Section 1.g.).

Despite constitutional safeguards for the confidentiality of 
mail and telegraphic and telephone correspondence, official 
telephone monitoring and censorship of private mail are common 

Pervasive networks of informers maintained by the security 
services and the ABSP serve to deter dissident activity and 
instill fear of the authorities.  As the U.N. Special 
Rapporteur noted in his February report, "The networks 
incorporate multiple security and intelligence services which 
are themselves supported by webs of agents and informants 
watching one another and ultimately accountable to the 
President alone."

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Throughout 1993, Iraqi armed forces conducted indiscriminate 
land-based attacks against the civilian population in the 
southern marshes.  These wetlands historically have been 
inhabited largely by Shi'a Muslims, who have been joined in 
recent years by significant numbers of Iraqi army deserters and 
refugees from other areas of Iraq.  As a result, the marshes 
have become the site of guerrilla resistance.  The Allied 
no-fly zone over southern Iraq, imposed in 1992, continued in 
1993 to protect the Shi'a marsh dwellers from attacks by Iraqi 
helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft.  In defiance of 
the no-fly zone, Iraqi forces in 1993 stepped up their use of 
land-based artillery to shell marsh villages.

In January a number of villages in the Al-Amarah marshes were 
reported burned to the ground.  In April opposition sources 
reported that government forces had killed some inhabitants and 
burned homes in two villages in Maysan governorate and had 
removed survivors to other locations.  In June, according to 
the U.N. Special Rapporteur, civilian settlements in the 
Al-Hammar marshes were subjected to a 4-day bombardment, 
followed by a razing of their homes by armored vehicles and 
tanks.  In August opposition sources reported attacks on the 
village of Al-Ksara in the Al-Aziz region of Maysan 
governorate.  Many of these attacks appeared targeted at 
unarmed civilian populations, particularly suspected opposition 
sympathizers.  Many civilians were killed or wounded, and an 
estimated 6,500 refugees fled to Iran, where they joined 
between 50,000 and 60,000 who had fled in previous years. 

Iraqi government efforts to divert water sources and drain the 
marshes made considerable headway in 1993.  The U.N. Special 
Rapporteur as well as various human rights groups have reported 
that, as the marshlands dry, Iraqi military units are able to 
advance their land-based attacks on villages.  In his November 
report to the U.N. General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur 
stated that he had viewed aerial and satellite photography 
confirming the destruction of numerous villages in the 
marshes.  In March the European Parliament (EP) passed a 
resolution characterizing the Baghdad leadership as "seeking 
the destruction of the marsh Arabs of southern Iraq" through 
the "systematic poisoning of water, the indiscriminate shelling 
of civilians, and the destruction of the resources and 
environment of the people by draining the marshes."

In 1993 a team of Middle East Watch and U.S. Government 
researchers discovered, in a cache of Iraqi government 
documents seized 2 years earlier by the Kurds, a 1989 Iraqi 
plan to destroy the marshlands and the people living there.  
The plan appears to have been approved at the highest levels of 
the Government.  Minister of Defense Ali Hassan Al-Majid, the 
same military leader who supervised the Anfal campaign in 1988, 
is now charged with directing the Government's so-called 
development plan for the marshes.  The U.N. Special Rapporteur 
has noted the similarity between the "genocide-type operations" 
directed against the Kurds and the operations currently being 
conducted in the south.  He concluded that "persons in the 
highest echelons of Government hold special and individual 
responsibility for a large number of the violations" and that 
"international law would not afford immunities."

The U.N. Special Rapporteur also reported that he continued to 
receive detailed accounts of the discovery of mass graves in 
southern Iraq, which are thought to contain the bodies of 
persons killed following the post-Gulf war civil uprising of 
March 1991.  None of these reported grave sites have yet been 
investigated.  However, forensic information obtained from mass 
grave sites in northern Iraq by forensic specialists in 1992 
was released in 1993; investigators found the remains of 
hundreds of persons presumed killed in the Anfal campaign 
carried out in 1988 by Iraqi military and security forces under 
the leadership of Ali Hassan Al-Majid.  In April a new mass 
grave, containing up to 1,500 bodies, was found in Irbil in 
northern Iraq, and another grave with up to 100 bodies was 
found nearby.  As of the end of the year, these graves had not 
been examined by forensic specialists.

Based on forensic evidence obtained from previously examined 
graves and extensive documentation that the Kurds seized from 
Iraqi government offices during the civil uprisings of 1991, 
Middle East Watch and Physicians for Human Rights now estimate 
that between 50,000 and 100,000 Kurds were killed and up to 
4,000 villages may have been destroyed during the Anfal 
campaign.  These human rights groups have built a substantial 
body of evidence suggesting that Iraqi government efforts to 
eliminate Iraqi Kurdish communities were widespread, 
systematically planned, and ruthlessly implemented.  

In northern Iraq, Operation Provide Comfort--the joint U.S., 
British, French, and Turkish command--continued in 1993 to 
inhibit attacks from the air on the inhabitants of the region.  
However, the Iraqi military forces continued intermittent, 
sometimes heavy shelling of northern villages by long-range 
artillery.  The village of Al-Shariye was shelled every night 
for a week in late September.  Also in September, one person 
was killed and two were wounded during shelling attacks on 
Taqtaq, near As Sulaymaniyah.  In May Iraqi soldiers reportedly 
entered the security zone, firing on the town of Awaina, 
located about 10 kilometers inside the zone.  Artillery 
shelling and bombardments reportedly preceded the attacks.  

Attacks on humanitarian relief efforts in northern Iraq 
continued throughout 1993.  In the winter and the spring, 
convoy trucks carrying relief supplies occasionally were 
destroyed by bombs as they crossed through Iraqi-controlled 
territory.  In June and July, two U.N. guard offices were 
attacked, four U.N. vehicles were bombed, and a motorcyclist 
threw grenades onto loaded convoy trucks.  Later in the summer, 
attacks against nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) appeared 
to accelerate.  In one incident an NGO convoy was attacked by 
rocket-propelled grenades, leaving one relief worker critically 
injured.  In another a bomb exploded on a Turkish truck 
carrying U.N.-consigned medicines.  In December a bomb exploded 
in the offices of a Belgian NGO, killing two local employees.  
Some of these incidents pointed to involvement by the Iraqi 
authorities; in others, it was impossible to determine who was 

Innocent civilians were killed occasionally in fighting between 
Kurdish guerilla forces and armed forces of the Kurdish 
Islamist League, a pro-Iranian party.  In late December 72 
persons were reported killed and 250 wounded in such clashes in 
Irbil and As Sulaymaniyah.

Civilians also were the occasional victims of armed raids by 
the Government of Turkey, which conducted counterterrorism 
operations along the Iraqi-Turkish border against the PKK 
(Kurdistan Workers' Party).  Relief workers reported that at 
least two women and seven children were killed in a Turkish 
raid near the northern town of Barzan on November 29.  The 
Government of Turkey says Iraqi civilian deaths were unintended.

The Kurdish population along the Iranian border suffered from 
Iranian shelling of civilian villages, as well as from sporadic 
Iranian military incursions into Iraqi territory.

Innocent civilians continued to be killed or maimed by 
exploding landmines in northern Iraq.  Many of the mines were 
originally set to deter Iranian forces during the Iran-Iraq 
war.  However, the Iraqi army failed to clear the mines after 
that war ended in 1988 and before it withdrew from the north in 
1991.  The mines appear to have been haphazardly planted in 
civilian areas.  The U.N. Special Rapporteur has repeatedly 
reminded the Iraqi Government of its obligations under the Land 
Mines Protocol, to which Iraq is a party, to protect civilians 
from the effects of mines.

The U.S. Government in 1993 released to the U.N. Security 
Council a document, based on interviews with victims and 
eyewitnesses, charging that the Iraqi regime engaged in war 
crimes (willful killing, torture, rape, pillage, hostage 
taking, unlawful deportation, and related acts) immediately 
prior to and during the 1991 Gulf war.  The United States urged 
the Security Council to create a commission of inquiry to 
examine possible war crimes, crimes against humanity, and 
genocidal actions perpetrated by the Iraqi Government.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and of the press do not exist in areas under 
Baghdad's control, and political dissent is not tolerated in 
those areas.  The Government and the ABSP own all print and 
broadcast media and operate them as propaganda outlets for the 
regime.  Opposition views are not reported.  The Government 
periodically attempts to jam news broadcasts from outside Iraq 
(e.g., the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting 
Corporation, and radio stations maintained by Iraqi opposition 
groups in neighboring countries).

In the northern security zone, which is protected by 
international forces and is administered by a local de facto 
government, several newspapers have appeared over the past
2 years, as have opposition radio and television broadcasts.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Except in northern areas under the protection of international 
forces, Iraqi citizens may not legally assemble or organize for 
any political purpose other than to support the regime.  Two 
organizations, the Communist Party and al-Da'wa al-Islamiya 
("Call of Islam") are outlawed; membership in either is a 
capital offense.  Though Iraqi authorities insist that the 
penalty has never been invoked in such cases, the Special 
Rapporteur has reported in previous years that persons have 
been executed for membership in these groups.  No new cases 
were reported in 1993.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is circumscribed.  The Government closely 
regulates and monitors Islamic affairs under a 1981 law giving 
the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs authority over 
places of worship, appointment of clergy, publication of 
religious literature, and participation in religious councils 
and meetings.  

Although Shi'a Arabs (constituting between 55 and 60 percent of 
the population) are the largest ethnoreligious group, Sunni 
Arabs, who comprise only about 12 to 15 percent of the 
population, have traditionally dominated Iraq economic and 
political life.  Despite legal guarantees of sectarian 
equality, the Government has in recent years engaged in a 
succession of actions directed at the clergy and followers of 
the Shi'ite faith.  Attacks on the Shi'a of the southern 
marshes in 1993 were preceded by the Government's harsh 
response to the spring uprising of 1991, in which government 
forces damaged or totally destroyed Shi'a mosques, holy sites, 
libraries, and archives.  Iraqi security forces in 1993 were 
still encamped in the shrine to Imam Ali at Al-Najaf, one of 
Shi'a Islam's holiest sites.  There were credible reports that 
the security forces' desecration of the shrine included using 
it as an interrogation center.  Also in 1993, security forces 
reportedly expelled foreign clerics from Al-Najaf, under the 
pretext that the clerics' visas had expired.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur in 1993 cited the following 
continued abuses of religious rights by the Government:  a ban 
on the call to prayer in certain cities, including Samara and 
Balad; a ban on the broadcast of Shi'a programs on government 
radio or television; a ban on the publication of Shi'a books, 
even prayer books; and the prohibition of certain processions 
and public meetings commemorating Shi'a holy days.  Moreover, 
the Government also intervened, through coercion, in the 
selection of a replacement for the late Grand Ayatollah Abul 
Qasim al-Khoei, who had died in government custody in 1992 (see 
Section 1.b.).  Late in the year, the Government appointed 
al-Khoei's successor.  

The Government has been less intrusive into the religious 
affairs of Iraq's Christians--a small community of 
approximately 300,000.  Their freedom of worship in churches of 
established denominations is legally protected, but they may 
not proselytize or hold meetings outside church premises.  

The Jewish community--which at its height following World War 
II was estimated at 150,000 persons--has almost totally 
disappeared.  Only a few hundred remain, nearly all in 
Baghdad.  There is no recent evidence of overt persecution of 
Jews, but the regime restricts contact with Jewish groups 

Iraqi law does not imposes penalties for conversion from one 
religion to another.  Muslims who convert may suffer a social 
stigma, however.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Government maintains close control over the movement of 
both citizens and foreigners.  Within the country, sensitive 
border areas and numerous designated security zones are 
off-limits to all travelers; persons who either deliberately or 
inadvertently stray into prohibited areas are immediately 
arrested (see Section 1.d.).  Police checkpoints can be found 
on highways and outside major towns.

All citizens are presently limited to two trips outside Iraq 
annually, and some citizens reportedly are prohibited from 
international travel.  Women are prohibited from traveling 
outside Iraq alone.

There are no emigration restrictions for members of minority 
groups, although emigrants often must leave behind substantial 
property because of the difficulty of exporting assets.  
Currency exchange violations are considered security offenses, 
and penalties can be severe.  In May the Government announced 
that such violations resulting in devaluation of the national 
currency are punishable by death.

The Government continued to pursue its discriminatory 
resettlement policies, including demolition of villages and 
forced relocations.  In May the Iraqi security service in Mosul 
ordered Kurdish residents to leave voluntarily within 30 days 
to central and southern Iraq or face deportation to 
Kurdish-controlled areas.  Subsequently Kurdish families were 
reportedly required to register at security checkpoints.  By 
late December, approximately 30 Kurdish families (200 persons), 
reportedly fearing expulsion by the Iraqi Government, had fled 
their homes in the Mosul area and had crossed into the 
Kurdish-controlled zone. 

The Government continued in 1993 to offer pecuniary inducements 
to Arab families from central Iraq to resettle in the north.  
However, the Government's resettlement policies were directed 
primarily at residents of the south.  The Special Rapporteur 
noted in his November report that he had interviewed numerous 
witnesses who testified that marsh Shi'a arrested during the 
course of military operations are regularly taken to the main 
southern cities and then transferred to detention centers and 
prisons in central Iraq, primarily in Baghdad.

It is estimated that more than 6,500 Shi'a refugees, most of  
whom had been displaced from their homes in the southern 
marshes by the draining of the marshes and indiscriminate 
shelling and burning operations of the Iraqi army, fled into 
Iran during the summer of 1993.  According to some estimates, 
up to 40,000 other persons are still in imminent danger in the 
marshes (see also Section 1.a.).

Several tens of thousands of some 1.5. million refugees who 
fled the country in the wake of the regime's bloody suppression 
of the civil uprising of 1991 remained abroad, mainly in Iran, 
Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey; lesser numbers are in Jordan 
and Kuwait.  Of the 1991 refugees, approximately 45,000 are in 
Iran, 23,000 in Saudi Arabia, 6,500 in Syria, and 4,000 in 
Turkey.  Also still in Turkey are approximately 5,300 Kurdish 
refugees who fled northern Iraq during the Anfal campaign of 
1988, in the wake of chemical weapons attacks on their 

The great majority of the refugees who fled in 1991, 
particularly the Kurds, repatriated themselves either to the 
area of northern Iraq, over which the allies have proscribed 
overflights by Iraqi aircraft, or to other areas not under 
government control.  However, several hundred thousand Kurds 
who returned to Iraq still were unable to go back to their 
former homes in Iraqi-controlled territory.

Iraqi students abroad who refuse to return to Iraq are required 
to reimburse the Government for education received at 
government expense, whether in Iraq or abroad.  Each student 
wishing to travel abroad must provide a guarantor.  The 
guarantor and the student's parents may be held liable if the 
student fails to return.

The Government also requires employees leaving government jobs 
before 20 years of service to reimburse the State for the cost 
of their education provided at government expense.  Amounts due 
can be recovered by confiscation, and nonpayment may result in 
imprisonment of family members.

Non-Iraqi spouses of Iraqi citizens who have resided in Iraq 
for 5 years must take Iraqi nationality or leave the country.  
Naturalization is required after 1 year for the spouses of 
Iraqi citizens employed in government offices.  Many foreigners 
have thus been obliged to accept Iraqi citizenship and become 
subject to official travel restrictions.  The penalties for 
noncompliance include loss of job, a substantial financial 
penalty, and repayment of the costs of education.

Iraq does not recognize the concept of dual nationality.  Many 
Iraqi "dual nationals," especially the children of Iraqi 
fathers and mothers of non-Iraqi birth, have been denied 
permission to leave Iraq to visit the country of their other 

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Iraqi citizens do not have the right to change their 
government.  Only in the Kurdish-controlled region in northern 
Iraq have free and open local elections been held.  Full 
political participation at the national level is confined to 
members of the Ba'ath Party (ABSP), estimated to number 1 1/2 
million, or about 8 percent of the population.  The ABSP 
governs the country under the provisional Constitution of 1968, 
and legislative and executive authority is vested in the RCC.  
The National Assembly is completely subordinate to the 
executive branch.  General elections were last held for the 
250-seat National Assembly in April 1989.  

Saddam Hussein continues to wield decisive power over all 
instruments of government.  He is President of the Republic, 
Chairman of the RCC, and Secretary General of the Regional 
(i.e., Iraq-wide) Command of the ABSP.  A personal or tribal 
relationship with Saddam Hussein is much more important for 
political advancement than is ABSP membership or ideological 
affiliation.  Almost all of Iraq's most powerful officials are 
either members of the President's family or long-time family 
allies from his home town of Tikrit.  Although ABSP membership 
is not required for appointment to senior military or 
government positions or election to the National Assembly, it 
can be a powerful aid in attaining political influence.

Opposition political organizations are illegal and severely 
suppressed.  Membership in the Communist Party is punishable by 
death (see Section 2.b.).  In 1991 the RCC adopted a law 
theoretically authorizing the creation of political parties 
other than the ABSP.  In fact, the law merely reinforced the 
preeminent position of the ABSP by prohibiting parties that do 
not support Saddam Hussein and the present Government.  New 
parties must be based in Baghdad and are forbidden to have any 
ethnic or religious character.

The Government does not recognize the various political 
groupings and parties that have been formed among natural 
opposition constituencies--the Shi'a of southern Iraq and the 
Kurdish, Assyrian, and Turcoman communities in the north.  
These political groups continued to thrive notwithstanding 
their illegal status.

A unique political situation exists in northern Iraq, where 
since 1991 all government functions have been performed by 
local administrators, mainly Kurds.  Following the March 1991 
uprising, the Iraqi national administrators pulled out of 
northern Iraq.  Local civil servants stepped in to fill the 
vacuum.  In May 1992, local political parties participated in 
elections to choose assembly representatives and de facto 
government administrators, who manage the affairs of the 
security zone--which is protected by allied military 
forces--and adjacent liberated areas.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

In 1993 the Government continued to deny allegations of human 
rights violations.  It also refused to cooperate in the 
investigation of alleged violations.  The one authorized human 
rights group in Iraq operates under official control and 
routinely corroborates official denials of violations.  The 
Government did not allow the Special Rapporteur to visit in 
1993 and objected to his recommendation that human rights 
monitors be stationed throughout Iraq.  In March the U.N. Human 
Rights Commission called on the U.N. Secretary General to send 
human rights monitors to "help in the independent verification 
of reports on the human rights situation in Iraq."  In December 
the U.N. General Assembly endorsed the request of the Human 
Rights Commission for monitors for Iraq.

Iraq has failed to comply with the provision of UNSCR 688 
insisting that Iraq afford immediate, unrestricted access by 
humanitarian workers to all those in need of assistance in all 
parts of Iraq.  In 1993 various organs within the U.N. system-- 
the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the U.N. Subcommission on 
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, and 
the U.N. General Assembly--adopted resolutions condemning the 
human rights violations of the Iraqi regime.  These bodies also 
called for the Iraqi Government to allow the U.N. Special 
Rapporteur to visit the southern region to interview refugees.  
Iraq has refused to give access to the Special Rapporteur.  
Throughout 1993, the Government threatened, harassed, and 
assaulted employees of the United Nations and nongovernmental 
organizations (see Section 1.g.).  The U.N. guard 
contingent--which protects U.N. personnel and 
operations--operated under severely reduced staffing in 1993, 
following the Government's refusal in 1992 to allow new guards 
into the country.  

The regime has refused to renew its Memorandum of Understanding 
(MOU) with the United Nations on U.N. operations in Iraq.  The 
United Nations has informed Iraq that the terms of the previous 
MOU are still operative and that the Government must comply 
with them.  Nonetheless, the Government persisted in violating 
UNSCR 688 by interfering with the international community's 
provision of humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people (see 
Section 1.g.).

In October the Government definitively refused to implement the 
provisions of UNSCR's 706 and 712, which would allow Iraq to 
sell oil and purchase humanitarian goods, the equitable 
distribution of which the United Nations would monitor.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


The Government claims that it is committed to equality for 
women, who make up about 20 percent of the Iraqi work force.  
Laws have been enacted to protect women from exploitation in 
the workplace and from sexual harassment; to permit women to 
join the regular army, Popular Army, and police forces; to 
require education for female children; and to equalize women's 
rights in divorce, land ownership, taxation, suffrage, and 
election to the National Assembly.  It is difficult to 
determine to what extent these protections are afforded in 

Familial violence against women, such as wife beating and rape, 
is known to occur, but little is known about its extent.  Such 
abuse is customarily addressed within the tightly knit Iraqi 
family structure.  There is no public discussion of the 
subject, and there are no official statistics.  Excessive 
violence against women is grounds for divorce and criminal 
charges, but suits brought on these charges are believed to be 

Continuing analysis of documents and testimony concerning the 
Anfal campaign of 1988 indicate that many women and children, 
including infants, were killed by firing squad and in chemical 
attacks during that operation and that many more remain 
unaccounted for.


No information is available on whether the Government has 
enacted specific legislation to promote the welfare of 
children.  However, the U.N. Special Rapporteur and various 
human rights organization have collected a substantial body of 
evidence pointing to the Iraqi Government's continuing 
disregard for the rights and welfare of children.

The Government of Iraq's failure to comply with the terms of 
U.N. resolutions has led to a continuation of economic 
sanctions against Iraq.  As a result, general economic and 
health conditions throughout Iraq have deteriorated seriously.  
Children have been particularly susceptible to the decline in 
the standard of living; increases in child mortality and 
disease rates have been reported.

Under these circumstances, the Special Rapporteur observes, the 
Government of Iraq has special obligations to "take steps to 
the maximum of its resources" to ensure that the most 
vulnerable groups in the population have adequate food and 
health care.  The Special Rapporteur stated in his November 
report that Iraq's ongoing refusal to implement U.N. Security 
Council Resolutions 706 and 712 (which would permit a one-time 
sale of oil in order to finance the import of humanitarian 
goods), has had an adverse effect on vulnerable populations, 
including children.  The Special Rapporteur noted: "The 
Government's failure to act (regarding 706 and 712) bears 
heavily upon those in need and no doubt accounts for a 
significant portion of the large increases in mortality rates." 

The Special Rapporteur further reported that the Government's 
policy of diverting humanitarian aid to its own supporters also 
deprived vulnerable groups, including children, of essential 
food and medicines.

Finally, the Special Rapporteur observed in his November report 
that the ongoing bombardment of civilian settlements in the 
southern marshes has resulted in the "deaths of large numbers 
of innocent persons, including women, children, and the 
elderly."  The Special Rapporteur stated that he had 
interviewed numerous orphans who had survived military attacks 
which had killed their parents. 

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The striking cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity of 
Iraqi society is not reflected in the country's political and 
economic structure.  Sunni Arabs, who constitute only about 12 
to 15 percent of the country's population, have effectively 
controlled Iraq since independence in 1932.  Shi'a Arabs, who 
make up 55 to 60 percent of the population and live mainly in 
the Baghdad area and the south, have long been economically, 
politically, and socially disadvantaged.  Like the Sunni Kurds 
of the north, the Shi'a Arabs of the south have been targeted 
for particular discrimination and abuse, ostensibly because of 
their opposition to the Government.  Actions against the Shi'a 
have included large-scale forced resettlement and closure and 
destruction of Shi'a institutions (see also Section 2.c.).  

In the southern marshes, the traditional way of life of the 
Shi'a--fishing, herding water buffalo, cultivating rice, and 
selling hand-made reed mats--has all but been destroyed by 
ongoing military operations.  Credible reports describe a 
continuing process of large-scale environmental destruction in 
the marshes caused by the Government's burning, draining, and 
water-diversion projects.  The army has constructed canals, 
causeways, and earthen berms to divert water from the 
wetlands.  Hundreds of square kilometers of marsh areas have 
been burned, imperiling the marshes' fragile ecosystem.  The 
Government claims the marshes are being drained as part of a 
land-reclamation plan that will increase acreage of arable 
land, spur agricultural production, and reduce salt pollution 
in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  However, the evidence of 
large-scale humanitarian and ecological destruction appears to 
belie the Iraqi claim.  The destruction also has alarmed many 
in the international human rights community, including the U.N. 
Special Rapporteur, who filed a special report on the situation 
in the marshes in November.  

Iraq's Kurds, who make up between 20 and 25 percent of the 
population, historically have suffered political and economic 
discrimination, despite the token presence of a small number in 
the national Government (see Sections 1.a., 1.b., and 1.g.).

The outstanding current example of discrimination against the 
Kurds and the Shi'a is the Government's ongoing embargo on the 
north and the diversion of basic supplies in the south, 
primarily to supporters of the regime.  The total blockade of 
the north includes humanitarian necessities such as food, 
medicine, and fuel.  Since August the embargo against the north 
also has included massive electric power cut-offs in specific 
areas, causing spoilage of medicines, breakdowns in local 
water-purification systems, and loss of certain hospital 
services.  A disaster was averted only by the prompt action of 
the United Nations and donor governments, who imported and 
installed temporary generators to alleviate the crisis.

The repressive diversion of supplies in the south--combined 
with the military burning and razing operations (see Sections 
1.a. and 2.d.)--has limited the population's access to food, 
medicine, drinking water, and transportation.

Citizens considered to be of Iranian origin must carry special 
identification and are often precluded from desirable 

     People with Disabilities

No information is available on the Government's efforts to 
assist people with disabilities or to indicate whether it has 
enacted legislation or otherwise mandated provision of 
accessibility for the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Although Iraq is a party to the 1919 Constitution of the 
International Labor Organization (ILO), which guarantees the 
freedom of association, trade unions independent of government 
control do not exist in Iraq.  The Trade Union Organization Law 
of June 2, 1987, prescribes a monolithic trade union structure 
for organized labor.  

Workers in private and mixed enterprises and cooperatives--but 
not public employees or workers in state enterprises--have the 
right to join local union committees.  The committees are 
linked to trade unions, which in turn are part of provincial 
trade union federations.  At the top is a single umbrella 
organization, the Iraqi General Federation of Trade Unions, 
which is linked to the Ba'ath Party and is utilized to promote 
party principles and policies among union members.  The General 
Federation is affiliated with the International Confederation 
of Arab Trade Unions and the formerly Soviet-controlled World 
Federation of Trade Unions.  

Union members have not been systematically targeted for human 
rights abuses.

The right to strike is heavily circumscribed by the Labor Law 
of 1987, and no strike has been reported over the past two 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right to bargain collectively is not recognized.  Salaries 
for public sector workers (i.e., the bulk of the employed) are 
set by the Government.  Wages in the much smaller private 
sector are set by employers or negotiated individually with 

The Labor Code does not protect workers from antiunion 
discrimination, a failure that has been criticized repeatedly 
by the ILO's Committee of Experts.  There are no export 
processing zones in Iraq.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Compulsory labor is theoretically prohibited by law.  However,  
Iraq's Penal Code allows prison sentences--including compulsory 
labor--for civil servants and employees of state enterprises 
accused of breaches of labor discipline such as resignation 
from the job.  According to ILO commitee reports, foreign 
workers in Iraq have been prevented from terminating their 
employment to return home because of government-imposed penal 
sanctions on persons who do so.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Employment of children under age 14 is legally forbidden except 
in small-scale family enterprises.  Children are nevertheless 
frequently encouraged to work as necessary to support their 
families.  The law stipulates that employees between the ages 
of 14 and 18 work fewer hours per week than adults.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The workweek in urban areas is 6 days, 7 to 8 hours per day, 
for workers in the private and mixed sectors.  These provisions 
do not apply to agricultural workers, whose workweek and 
workday vary according to individual employer-employee 
agreements.  Hours for government employees are set by the head 
of each ministry.

Occupational safety programs are in effect in state-run 
enterprises, and inspectors theoretically make periodic 
inspections of private establishments.  Enforcement varies 

[end of document]


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