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Title:  Iraq Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 
 
                                IRAQ* 
 
 
 
*The United States does not have diplomatic representation in Iraq.  
This report draws to a large extent on non-U.S. Government sources. 
 
 
Political power in Iraq is concentrated in a repressive one-party 
apparatus dominated by Saddam Hussein.  The provisional Constitution of 
1968 stipulates that the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party governs Iraq 
through the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), which exercises both 
executive and legislative authority.  President Saddam Hussein, who is 
also Prime Minister, Chairman of the RCC, and Secretary General of the 
Regional Command of the ABSP, wields decisive power.  A "referendum" was 
held on Saddam's presidency in October; Saddam received 99.96 of the 
vote for election to the presidency for a term of 7 years.  This 
referendum was not democratic:  it included neither secret ballots nor 
opposing candidates, and voters feared possible reprisal for a negative 
vote. 
 
Ethnically and linguistically, the Iraqi population includes Arabs, 
Kurds, Turcomans, Yazidis, and Armenians.  Historically, the religious 
mix is likewise varied:  Shi'a and Sunni Muslims (both Arab and 
Kurdish), Christians (including Chaldeans and Assyrians), and Jews (most 
of whom have emigrated).  Ethnic divisions have resulted in civil 
uprisings in recent years, especially in the north and the south.  The 
Government has reacted against those who revolt with extreme repression. 
 
The Government's security apparatus includes militias attached to the 
President, the Ba'ath Party, and the Interior Ministry.  Security forces 
have been responsible for widespread and systematic human rights abuses.  
They play a central role in maintaining the environment of intimidation 
and fear on which government power rests. 
 
The Government controls most of the economy, which is largely based on 
oil production, and owns all major industries.  Damaged by the Gulf War 
and subjected to United Nations sanctions as a result of Iraq's 1990 
invasion of Kuwait, the economy continues to deteriorate.  The sanctions 
ban all exports and allows imports only of food, medicine, and materials 
and supplies for essential civilian needs.  The Government's failure to 
comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions has led to repeated 
extensions of the sanctions.  In April the Security Council passed U.N 
Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 986 allowing a controlled sale of 
Iraqi oil to purchase food and other humanitarian goods to improve the 
deteriorating situation of the Iraqi people.  The Government has refused 
to allow implementation of this resolution which would provide 
substantial relief supplies, but a senior-level delegation from Baghdad 
held an inconclusive round of negotiations with the U.N. Secretariat in 
February 1996.  A second round has been scheduled for March. 
 
The Government's poor record on human rights did not improve in 1995.  
Human rights abuses are difficult to document because of government 
efforts to conceal the facts, including its refusal to permit visits by 
human rights monitors or other observers and continued restrictions 
designed to prevent dissent.  Nevertheless, it is clear that systemic 
violations increased as the regime expanded its use of torture and 
further tightened its control over all aspects of Iraqi politics and 
society. 
 
Throughout the year, the Government forcibly transferred hundreds of 
government workers from one job to another, purportedly to prevent the 
development of potential opposition in any government institutions.  
After a failed coup attempt in March and further disturbances in May and 
June, the Government arrested, removed from their jobs, or otherwise 
punished numerous Iraqis for their alleged association with these 
incidents.  After Saddam's daughters and their husbands, Hussein Kamel 
and Saddam Kamel al-Majid, defected to Jordan in August, the Government 
reportedly arrested scores of mid-level military and civilian officials 
for their association with the defectors.  The two men and their 
families returned to Iraq in February 1996 after receiving promises of 
amnesty.  Shortly after entering Iraq, the two were separated from their 
families and were killed, allegedly in a gunfight with relatives.  
Opposition sources report that Saddam or his sons were involved in the 
executions. 
 
The number of summary executions of perceived political opponents 
reportedly increased, and reports of disappearances continued.  Tens of 
thousands of political killings and disappearances remain unresolved 
from previous years.  The authorities routinely use arbitrary arrest and 
detention.  The judiciary is not independent; the President can override 
any court decision.  The Government continues to deny citizens the right 
to due process and privacy and severely limits freedom of religion and 
workers' rights. 
 
Citizens do not have the right to change their government.  The October 
"referendum" on Saddam's presidency was not free.  It was dismissed by 
most international observers.  Max van der Stoel, the Special Rapporteur 
for Iraq appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), cited 
the denial of a secret ballot and fear of reprisal for a negative vote.  
Freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and association do not exist, 
except in the northern areas which enjoy the protection of an 
internationally enforced safehaven. 
 
Iraqi military operations continued to target Shi'a Arabs living in the 
southern marshes.  In central and southern Iraq, the regime continued to 
divert humanitarian supplies to its security forces, the military, and 
other supporters.  The Government maintained an internal embargo against 
Iraq's northern governorates, blocking the shipment of food, medicine, 
and other goods from government-controlled territory to the Kurdish-
controlled areas. 
 
As socioeconomic conditions deteriorated, the regime punished persons 
accused of economic crimes, military desertion, and a variety of other 
charges with torture, including the extensive use of amputation.  The 
Government persisted in its flagrant interference with the international 
community's provision of humanitarian assistance, in contravention of 
the conditions of UNSCR 688.  It harassed and intimidated relief workers 
as well as U.N. security personnel throughout the country.  Reliable 
reports indicate that the Government continues to offer rewards for 
killing international relief personnel. 
 
Northern Iraq was the scene of continued fighting between the two main 
Iraqi Kurd groups, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the 
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), in which both fighters and civilians 
were killed.  Clashes with the Turkish terrorist organization, the 
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), also resulted in the death of both 
fighters and civilians.  Both Iraqi Kurdish groups and the PKK 
reportedly tortured civilians. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS  
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
   a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing 
 
The regime has a long record of executing perceived opponents.  The U.N. 
Special Rapporteur, the international media, and other groups all 
reported an increased number of summary executions in 1995.  In his 
February report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the Special 
Rapporteur stated that the Government's "aim of killing is a political 
one, with the objective of silencing dissent and suppressing 
opposition." 
 
As in previous years, there were numerous credible reports that the 
regime executed persons allegedly involved in plotting against Saddam, 
including high-ranking civilian, military, and tribal leaders, as well 
as members of his family and clan.  One unconfirmed eyewitness report 
charged that 200 prisoners were executed in February at the Abu Ghurayb 
prison.  Other executions occurred after several antiregime 
disturbances.  The most serious incidents included an uprising in March 
led by former Gen. Wafiq al-Samarra'i; an uprising in May led by Gen. 
Turk Ismail Dulaimi and other members of the Dulaimi clan; and the 
August defections of Hussein and Saddam Kamel, Saddam's sons-in-law who 
held high-ranking government positions.  An undetermined number of 
people are believed to have been executed extrajudicially after each of 
these events. 
 
This trend continued in early 1996, when Hussein and Saddam Kamel 
returned to Iraq from Jordan after reportedly receiving an amnesty.  
Several days after their return, the two were murdered, allegedly by 
relatives who claimed that they took action to punish the defectors for 
"treason."  At least two other relatives who had not defected were 
killed during these attacks.  While the details of the murders are 
unavailable, at least one opposition party asserted that Saddam Hussein 
and his son, Uday, were involved in inciting the killings. 
 
The Special Rapporteur noted continued reports of the frequent use of 
the death penalty for such offenses as "insulting" the President or the 
Ba'ath Party.  In reports submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Commission 
in September and November, the Special Rapporteur cited several 
government decrees stipulating the death penalty for certain political 
and civil offenses (see Section 1.e.).  Numerous midlevel officials and 
local leaders who fled government-controlled areas cited the fear of 
extrajudicial killing as a reason for their flight. 
 
In his November report, the Special Rapporteur noted that some condemned 
convicts can buy their freedom by bribing the judge.  Others have 
reported that in such cases the convict helps authorities find another 
person to be executed in the accused's place. 
 
The Special Rapporteur, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and other human rights 
groups reported that the Government executed several doctors who refused 
to perform amputations imposed on persons convicted of certain crimes, 
or who performed corrective surgery on such amputees (see Section 1.c.). 
 
Government forces have reportedly executed numerous Shi'a inhabitants of 
the south marshes, but there was no independent means to verify these 
reports (see Section 1.g.). 
 
Indications persist that the Government has offered "bounties" to anyone 
who assassinates United Nations or other international relief workers in 
northern Iraq. 
 
During the year, the regime continued to deny the widespread killings of 
Kurds in northern Iraq during the "Anfal" Campaign of 1988 (see Sections 
1.b. and 1.g.).  Both the Special Rapporteur and HRW have concluded that 
the Government's policies against the Kurds raise issues of crimes 
against humanity and violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention. 
 
There was no further information on the death of the prominent Shi'a 
oppositionist Taki Al-Khoei, who, along with three others, was killed in 
1994 in a suspicious automobile crash in southern Iraq.  Strong 
circumstantial evidence points to the Government's involvement. 
 
During the year, political killings and terrorist actions occurred in 
northern Iraq.  Intra-Kurdish fighting erupted over the first half of 
the year between two Iraqi Kurdish groups, the PUK and the KDP.  An 
undetermined number of fighters and civilians were killed in these 
attacks.  Later in 1995, elements of the PKK, a Turkish Kurd terrorist 
group, increased their activity in northern Iraq and reportedly killed 
local residents in an effort to control a territorial base.  These 
groups sometimes attacked civilians, foreign relief workers, and 
journalists. 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
The Special Rapporteur stated in November that he continues to receive 
reports on widespread disappearances, especially in southern Iraq.  The 
Government has not replied to any of the more than 15,000 cases conveyed 
to it in 1994 and 1995 by the U.N. Working Group on Enforcement on 
Involuntary Disappearances. 
 
The United Nations has documented over 16,000 cases of disappeared 
persons.  According to the Special Rapporteur, most of these cases 
occurred during the Anfal Campaign.  He estimates that the total number 
of Kurds who disappeared during Anfal could reach the tens of thousands.  
HRW estimates the total at between 70,000 and 150,000, and Amnesty 
International (AI) at more than 100,000. 
 
The Special Rapporteur and several human rights groups continued to 
request that the Government provide information about the arrest in 1991 
of the late Grand Ayatollah Abdul Qasim Al-Khoei and 108 of his 
associates.  The Ayatollah died while under house arrest in Al-Najaf.  
Others arrested with him have not been accounted for, and the regime 
refuses to respond to queries regarding their status. 
 
The Government failed to return, or account for, a large number of 
Kuwaiti citizens and third-country nationals detained during the Iraqi 
occupation of Kuwait.  Regime officials, including military leaders 
known to have been among the last to see the disappeared during the 
occupation, have refused to respond to the hundreds of outstanding 
inquiries about the missing.  The regime denies having any knowledge of 
them and claims that relevant records were lost in the aftermath of the 
Gulf War. 
 
In addition to the tens of thousands of reported disappearances, human 
rights groups report that the Government continues to hold thousands of 
other Iraqis in incommunicado detention. 
 
Several kidnapings took place during fighting among Kurdish factions in 
northern Iraq.  In September supporters of the PKK took hostage several 
Iraqi and foreign relief workers at a Turkish Kurd refugee camp.  All 
were eventually released unharmed. 
 
   c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
The security services routinely torture detainees, even though the 
Government is a party to international conventions against torture and 
the Constitution prohibits the practice.  In his November report, the 
Special Rapporteur noted the Government's systemic use of physical and 
psychological torture, especially in southern Iraq.  According to former 
detainees, torture techniques include brandings, electric shocks 
administered to the genitals and other 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 relatives.  Tormentors kill many torture victims and 
mutilate their bodies before returning them to the victims' families. 
 
The regime continues to practice amputation of ears and hands, as well 
as branding, as punishment for crimes ranging from theft to military 
desertion.  Eyewitnesses reported that the Government carried out second 
amputations and brandings on repeat offenders and on those who sought 
corrective surgery for earlier disfigurements.  In some of these cases, 
the regime executed the offenders as well as the doctors who either 
performed corrective surgery or refused to carry out amputations.  In 
his November report, the Special Rapporteur concluded that the 
amputations and brandings are "gross violations of human rights."  
 
Several government officials cited Islamic law (Shari'a) as a rationale 
for amputating the right hands of convicted thieves, but none commented 
on the punishments imposed on repeat offenders or the Government's 
disregard for rights protected under Islamic law.  One senior official 
claimed that brandings were instituted in order to avoid confusing 
criminals with war veterans who had lost limbs in battle. 
 
The Special Rapporteur, human rights organizations, and opposition 
groups continue to receive numerous reports of women still suffering 
severe depression after they were raped while in custody.  The security 
forces allegedly raped women captured during the Anfal Campaign and 
during the occupation of Kuwait.  The Government has never acknowledged 
these reports of rape or conducted any investigation.  Although the 
regime made a variety of pronouncements against rape and other violent 
crimes during the year, it took no action against regime activists who 
committed this abuse. 
 
Certain prisons are notorious for routine mistreatment of prisoners.  
Al-Rashidiya Prison, on the Tigris River north of Taji, reportedly has 
torture chambers.  The Al-Shamma'iya Prison, located in east Baghdad, 
holds the mentally ill and is reportedly the site of both torture and 
disappearances. 
 
The Al-Radwaniyah Prison is a former prisoner-of-war facility near 
Baghdad and reportedly the site of torture as well as mass executions.  
This prison was the principal detention center for persons arrested 
following the civil uprisings of 1991, and returned to prominence in May 
as the site of executions following an uprising led by members of the 
Dulaimi clan (see Section 1.a.).  Many persons taken into custody in 
connection with this and other civil uprisings have not been seen since.  
HRW and others estimate that the Al-Radwaniyah Prison holds more than 
5,000 detainees, only a few of whom may have been released following a 
so-called "amnesty" announcement in July (see Section 1.d.). 
 
There were reports that Iraqi Kurdish groups tortured captured criminal 
suspects and political opponents.  The PKK also reportedly tortured 
civilians captured in northern Iraq in the latter half of the year. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
Although the Constitution and Legal Code explicitly prohibit arbitrary 
arrest and detention, the authorities routinely engage in these 
practices.  In his September report, the Special Rapporteur stated that 
the existence of several repressive laws "quells freedom of thought, 
information, expression, association, and assembly through fear of 
arrest."  The military and security services, rather than the ordinary 
police, carry out most cases of arbitrary arrest and detention.  
Government officials have linked ending these practices to the lifting 
of the international embargo.  They maintain that the arrests are a 
temporary preventive measure and do not constitute human rights 
violations. 
 
In the aftermath of several security incidents, security forces 
reportedly arrested hundreds of persons perceived as security threats, 
mainly on the basis of an individual's personal association or family 
connection with opponents of the regime.  Many of those arrested were 
reportedly killed while in custody (see Section 1.a.). 
 
According to international human rights groups, numerous foreigners 
arrested arbitrarily in previous years remain in detention.  In March 
the regime arrested two Americans who unknowingly crossed the Iraqi 
border with Kuwait.  The regime's efforts to link the fate of the two 
men to political issues failed, and the two were released in July. 
 
In July the Government issued two "amnesty" decrees:  Decree No. 61, for 
certain convicted criminals, and Decree No. 64 for those convicted of 
political offenses.  The Special Rapporteur noted that Decree No. 61 
stipulates that criminals granted amnesty may be convicted again of the 
same crimes for which they were sentenced and that Decree No. 64 
requires those granted amnesty to report to competent authorities in 
order to benefit.  He also noted that because "there is no effective 
rule of law in Iraq, there will be little confidence in the reliability 
of amnesty decrees." 
 
Human rights groups concluded that the amnesties should not be 
considered legitimate.  HRW observed that when some 3,000 residents of 
southern Iraq came forward for a similar amnesty in 1991, they were 
placed on trucks and subsequently disappeared.  Further, two Iraqis who 
specifically were granted amnesties before returning from Jordan, where 
they had earlier defected, were murdered shortly after their return (see 
Section 1.a.). 
 
There was insufficient information to determine how many persons were 
released or accepted the amnesties. 
 
The Special Rapporteur and opposition sources reported that the regime 
continued to target the Shi'a Muslim clergy and their supporters for 
arbitrary arrest and other abuses.  The Government reportedly forced 
some Shi'a of southern Iraq to move to northern areas near Kirkuk, 
purportedly to "Arabize" that historically Kurdish area. 
 
At the same time, the Government deported hundreds of Turcomans from 
their northern Iraqi homes, either to areas outside government control 
or to southern Iraq.  It also refused to allow tens of thousands of 
Kurds and Turcomans to return to their homes in Kirkuk and Mosul.  These 
forced movements amount to a policy of internal exile (see Section 
2.d.).  There were no reports that the Government forcibly exiled anyone 
from Iraq. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The judiciary is not independent, and there is no check on the 
President's power to override any court decision.  The Special 
Rapporteur and international human rights groups all observed during the 
year that the repressive nature of the political and legal systems 
eviscerates any concept of rule of law. 
 
There are two parallel judicial systems:  the regular courts, which try 
common criminal offenses; and special security courts, which generally 
try national security cases, but may also try criminal cases. 
 
Procedures in the regular courts theoretically provide for many 
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.  Trials in the regular courts are 
public, and defendants are entitled to counsel, at government expense in 
the case of indigents.  Defense lawyers have the right to review the 
charges and evidence brought against their clients.  There is no jury 
system; panels of three judges try cases.  Defendants have the right to 
appeal to the Court of Appeal and then to the Court of Cassation, the 
highest court. 
 
The Special Rapporteur noted in his November report that numerous laws 
lend themselves to continued oppression, such as the 1994 decree 
stipulating the death penalty for automobile theft, smuggling, various 
categories of theft, and solicitation for the purposes of prostitution.  
In 1995 the Government also announced the death penalty for possession 
of stolen goods and for the failure of agricultural workers to supply 
food for government distribution. 
 
The Government shields certain groups from prosecution for alleged 
crimes.  A 1992 decree grants immunity from prosecution to members of 
the Ba'ath Party and the security forces who kill anyone while in 
pursuit of army deserters.  Unconfirmed but widespread reports indicate 
that this decree was applied often in 1995 to prevent trials or 
punishment of such government officials as Uday Saddam Hussein, the 
President's son.  A 1990 decree grants immunity to men who kill their 
mothers, daughters, and other female family members who have committed 
"immoral deeds."  
 
Special security courts have jurisdiction in all cases involving 
espionage and treason, peaceful political dissent, smuggling, currency 
exchange violations, and drug trafficking.  According to the Special 
Rapporteur and other sources, military officers or civil servants with 
no legal training head these tribunals, which hear cases in secret.  
Authorities often hold defendants incommunicado and do not permit 
contact with lawyers.  The courts admit confessions extracted by 
torture, which often serve as the basis for conviction. 
 
Many cases appear to end in summary execution, although defendants may 
appeal to the President for clemency.   Saddam may grant clemency in any 
case that apparently suits his political goals, for example, the case of 
the two detained Americans and the purported amnesty for Iraqi exiles 
(see Section 1.d.). 
 
There are no Shari'a, or Islamic law, courts as such.  Regular courts 
are empowered to administer Islamic law in cases involving personal 
status, such as divorce and inheritance. 
 
Because the Government rarely acknowledges 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 
Correspondence 
 
The Government frequently disregards the constitutional right to 
privacy, particularly in cases allegedly involving national security.  
The law defines security offenses so broadly that authorities are 
virtually exempt from the legal requirement to obtain search warrants.  
In 1995 the authorities subjected Iraqis of various ethnic groups and 
tribal affiliations to searches without warrants (see Section 1.g.).  
The regime routinely ignores the constitutional provisions safeguarding 
the confidentiality of mail, telegraphic correspondence, and telephone 
conversations.  The Government periodically jams news broadcasts, 
including those of opposition groups, from outside Iraq. 
 
The security services and the Ba'ath Party maintain pervasive networks 
of informers to deter dissident activity and instill fear in the public.  
Voters in the October "referendum" were required to name relatives on 
their ballots and, according to some opposition reports, threatened with 
punishment against their families if they voted against extending 
Saddam's rule. 
 
In his November report, the Special Rapporteur noted that because of the 
intrusiveness of the security apparatus "virtually no citizen would risk 
demonstrating any opposition to the Presidency or Government--or would 
do so at his mortal peril." 
 
   g.   Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts 
 
As in previous years, Iraqi armed forces conducted deliberate artillery 
attacks against Shi'a civilians in the southern marshes and against 
minority groups in northern Iraq.  In 1992 the Gulf War allies imposed a 
"no-fly zone" over both northern and southern Iraq.  The no-fly zones 
continue to deter aerial attacks on the marsh dwellers in southern Iraq 
and residents of northern Iraq, but they do not prevent artillery 
attacks in either area or the military's large-scale burning operations 
in the south. 
 
Throughout the year, the Government announced that it would undertake 
several water-diversion and other projects, which continued the process 
of large-scale environmental destruction.  The Government claims the 
drainage is part of a land reclamation plan to increase the acreage of 
arable land, spur agricultural production, and reduce salt pollution in 
the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  However, the evidence of large-scale 
human and ecological destruction appears to belie this claim. 
 
Credible reports confirm the ongoing destruction of the marshes.  The 
army continued to construct canals, causeways, and earthen berms to 
divert water from the wetlands.  Hundreds of square kilometers have been 
burned in military operations.  Moreover, the regime's diversion of 
supplies in the south limited the population's access to food, medicine, 
drinking water, and transportation. 
 
The Government maintains an internal embargo against the three 
governorates in northern Iraq, populated primarily by Kurds and other 
ethnic minorities.  The embargo prevents the entry of food, medicine, 
and other humanitarian supplies to that area.  Beginning in 1993, the 
embargo also included electric power cut-offs in specific areas, causing 
the disruption of water and sanitation systems, and interfering with the 
delivery of food and fuel.  The United Nations and donor governments 
installed temporary generators to alleviate the crisis.  In July the 
Government restored some electricity and allowed increased fuel trade 
with the northern governorate of Dohuk, but the fuel trade was again 
severely restricted with the onset of winter.  The entire northern area 
remains subject to the threat of future cut-offs. 
 
Operation Provide Comfort--a multinational coalition made up of the 
U.S., United Kingdom, France, and Turkey--continued enforcement of a "no 
fly zone" to inhibit government aerial activity to repress citizens in 
northern Iraq.  However, government military forces continued 
intermittent, sometimes heavy shelling of northern villages by long-
range artillery.  The Government also maintained efforts to "Arabize" 
certain areas, such as the urban centers of Kirkuk and Mosul, through 
the forced movement of local residents from their homes and villages and 
their replacement by Arabs from outside the area (see Section 1.d.). 
 
Civilians were the victims of fighting between the forces of the two 
main Iraqi Kurd political groups, the KDP and the PUK, during the first 
half of 1995.  A ceasefire during the second half of the year sharply 
reduced the number of civilian casualties and the use of torture on 
those detained or arrested. 
 
The PKK committed numerous abuses against civilians in northern Iraq in 
the latter half of the year.  In September the PKK seized eight U.N. 
relief workers as hostages at the Atrush refugee camp.  The camp, 
populated by some 14,000 Turkish Kurds, has been suspected as a base for 
PKK terrorist activities.  The relief workers were released unharmed 
after 
3 days. 
 
In March Turkish armed forces entered northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK 
terrorists and bases.  Human rights organizations charged that the 
Turkish operation, which lasted 8 weeks, resulted in some civilian 
deaths.  However, Turkish Government authorities stressed that the 
operation sought to avoid civilian casualties.  There were several 
unconfirmed reports of civilian casualties during four smaller Turkish 
operations into northern Iraq during 1995. 
 
Land mines in northern Iraq, mostly planted by the Government before 
1991, continued to kill or maim civilians.  Many of the mines were laid 
during the Iran-Iraq War, but the army failed to clear them before it 
abandoned the area.  The mines appear to have been haphazardly planted 
in civilian areas.  The Special Rapporteur has repeatedly reminded the 
Government of its obligations under the Land Mines Protocol, to which 
Iraq is a party, to protect civilians from the effects of mines.  
Various nongovernmental organizations continue efforts to remove mines 
from the area and increase mine awareness among local residents. 
 
Based on interviews with victims and eyewitnesses, the U.S. Government 
has concluded that the Iraqi regime engaged in war crimes--willful 
killing, torture, rape, pillage, hostage-taking, unlawful deportation, 
and associated acts--directly related to the Gulf War.  The U.S. 
Government continues to urge the U.N. Security Council to establish an 
international commission to study evidence of a broader range of war 
crimes, as well as crimes against humanity and possible genocide. 
 
Throughout the year, HRW worked with various governments to bring a 
genocide case at the International Court of Justice against the 
Government for its conduct of the Anfal Campaign against the Kurds in 
1988.  HRW reported that the case is based on the evidence obtained from 
mass graves, government documents, and interviews with eyewitnesses.  
HRW and Physicians for Human Rights estimate that between 70,000 and 
100,000 Kurds were killed, and up to 4,000 villages destroyed, during 
the Anfal Campaign.  The evidence suggests that government efforts to 
eliminate Kurdish communities were widespread, systematically planned, 
and ruthlessly implemented. 
 
Section 2    Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
Freedom of speech and of the press do not exist, and political dissent 
is not tolerated in areas under the Government's control.  The 
Government and the Ba'ath Party own all print and broadcast media and 
operate them as propaganda outlets.  They generally do not report 
opposing points of view that are expressed either domestically or 
abroad.  The Government also jams foreign news broadcasts (see Section 
1.f.). 
 
Several statutes and decrees suppress freedom of speech and the press.  
These include a 1986 decree stipulating the death penalty for anyone 
insulting the President or other high government officials; Section 214 
of the Penal Code, which prohibits singing a song likely to cause civil 
strife; and the Press Act of 1968, which prohibits the writing of 
articles on 12 specific subjects, including those detrimental to the 
President. 
 
The Government arbitrarily detains writers who criticize or question 
government policies.  In 1995 security forces detained Aziz Said Jasim, 
a political theorist, and Dhargham Hashim, a journalist who published an 
article on the marsh Arabs of southern Iraq. 
 
Foreigners are also subject to restrictions on freedom of the press.  
The Government refused to admit a returning Danish member of the U.N. 
Guard Contingent in Iraq, which protects international humanitarian 
workers throughout Iraq, for carrying a foreign newspaper with 
unfavorable coverage of Saddam.  
 
In northern Iraq, several newspapers have appeared over the past 3 
years, as have opposition radio and television broadcasts.  The absence 
of central authority permits some freedom of expression, although most 
journalists are influenced or controlled by various political 
organizations. 
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
Except in northern areas, citizens may not legally assemble or organize 
for any political purpose other than to express support for the regime.  
The Government regularly orchestrates crowds to demonstrate support for 
the regime and its policies through financial incentives for those who 
participate and threats of violence against those who do not. 
 
The Government controls the establishment of political parties, 
regulates their internal affairs, and monitors their activities.  
Several parties are specifically outlawed, and membership in them is a 
capital offense.  A 1974 law prescribes the death penalty for anyone 
"infiltrating" the Ba'ath Party. 
 
Unconfirmed reports continued to circulate of small demonstrations and 
even confrontations between farm workers and the security forces.  One 
unconfirmed incident occurred in November when some 200 farmers 
demonstrated in An-Najaf province near Baghdad to protest the 
requirement that they contribute most of their produce to government 
authorities for rationing. 
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
The Government severely limits freedom of religion.  The Provisional 
Constitution of 1968 states that "Islam is the religion of the State."  
The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs monitors places of 
worship, appoints the clergy, and approves the publication of religious 
literature. 
 
Although Shi'a Muslim Arabs, who compose between 60 and 65 percent of 
the population, are the largest religious group, Sunni Arabs (composing 
only about 12 to 15 percent of the population) have traditionally 
dominated economic and political life.  Despite legal guarantees of 
sectarian equality, the regime has in recent years repressed the Shi'a 
clergy and followers of the Shi'a faith.  Security forces have wantonly 
desecrated Shi'a mosques and holy sites, particularly in the aftermath 
of the 1991 civil uprisings.  Opposition sources charged that Saddam's 
late son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, committed many human rights violations 
in putting down the 1991 uprising in southern Iraq. 
 
The following government restrictions on religious rights remained in 
effect throughout 1995:  a ban on the Muslim call to prayer in certain 
cities; a ban on the broadcast of Shi'a programs on government radio or 
television; a ban on the publication of Shi'a books, including prayer 
books; a ban on funeral processions; and the prohibition of certain 
processions and public meetings commemorating Shi'a holy days.  
Moreover, the Government also continued to insist that its own appointee 
replace the late Grand Ayatollah Abul Qasim Al-Khoei, formerly the 
highest ranking Iraqi Shi'a clergyman, who died in government custody in 
1992 (see Section 1.b.).  The Shi'a religious establishment refuses to 
accept the Government's choice.  The Government also continued to harass 
and threaten members of the late Ayatollah Al-Khoei's family (see 
Sections 1.a. and 1.b.). 
 
The Special Rapporteur and others report that the Government has engaged 
in various abuses against the country's 350,000 Assyrian Christians.  
Most Assyrians traditionally live in the northern governorates, and the 
Government often has suspected them of "collaborating" with Kurds.  
Military forces destroyed numerous Assyrian churches during the Anfal 
Campaign and reportedly tortured and executed many Assyrians (see 
Section 4).  According to HRW and Assyrian sources, the Government 
continues to harass and kill Assyrians throughout the country by forced 
relocations, terror, and artillery shelling. 
 
HRW also reported that a group of five Iraqi Jehovah Witnesses were held 
for more than 2 months without trial by government security forces.  
During their imprisonment, they were reportedly beaten, placed in 
severely overcrowded facilities, and denied adequate food.  Although now 
out of prison, they still suffer periodic harassment, threats of 
imprisonment, and extortion. 
 
   d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
The Government controls the movement within the country of citizens and 
foreigners.  Persons who enter sensitive border areas and numerous 
designated security zones are subject to arrest (see Section 1.d.).  
Police checkpoints are common on major roads and highways.  High-ranking 
officials and other key supporters of the regime were exempt from these 
restrictions, but some reports indicate that the Government removed most 
of these exceptions and tightened internal and border travel controls 
following the August defection of Hussein Kamel and his party.  
According to the Special Rapporteur, the regime's ability to secure a 
voter turnout of over 99 per cent in the October "referendum" 
demonstrated the regime's ability to control the movement of citizens in 
the country (see section 3). 
 
The Government requires citizens to obtain expensive exit visas for 
foreign travel.  Citizens may not make more than two trips abroad 
annually.  The Government reportedly prohibits some citizens from all 
international travel.  Before traveling abroad, citizens are required to 
post collateral with the Government which is refundable only upon their 
return to Iraq.  There are restrictions on the amount of currency that 
may be taken out of the country.  Women are not permitted to travel 
outside Iraq alone; male relatives must escort them. 
 
Students abroad who refuse to return to Iraq are required to reimburse 
any of their expenses that were paid by the Government.  Each student 
wishing to travel abroad must provide a guarantor.  The guarantor and 
the student's parents may be liable if the student fails to return. 
 
Foreign spouses of citizens who have resided in Iraq for 
5 years are required to apply for nationality.  The requirement is 1 
year of residence for the spouses of citizens employed in government 
offices.  Many foreigners thus have been obliged to accept citizenship 
and are subject to official travel restrictions.  The penalties for 
noncompliance include, but are not limited to, loss of the spouse's job, 
a substantial financial penalty, and repayment for any governmental 
educational expenses. 
 
The Government prevents many citizens who also hold citizenship in 
another country--especially the children of Iraqi fathers and foreign-
born mothers--from visiting the country of their other nationality. 
 
The Government continued to pursue its discriminatory resettlement 
policies, including demolition of villages and forced relocation of 
Kurds, Turcomans, Assyrians, and other minorities.  Human rights 
monitors reported that the Government continues to force Kurdish and 
Turcoman residents of Mosul and Kirkuk to move to other areas in the 
north or the south. 
 
According to the Special Rapporteur, security forces continue to 
relocate Shi'a inhabitants of the southern marshes to major southern 
cities.  Many have been transferred to detention centers and prisons in 
central Iraq, primarily in Baghdad, or even to northern cities like 
Kirkuk as part of the Government's attempt to "Arabize" traditionally 
non-Arab areas. 
 
Large numbers of Shi'a refugees from southern Iraq fled to Iran due to 
military operations in southern Iraq.  There is insufficient information 
to estimate the number of persons displaced by these operations, due to 
the lack of international monitors in the area.  It is estimated that as 
of September more than 200,000 of the 250,000 former inhabitants of the 
marshes had been driven from the area since 1991 (see also Section 
1.a.). 
 
In late 1995, the UNHCR estimated that approximately 12,000 refugees 
from the marshes were in refugee camps in Iran.  Amar Appeal, a 
charitable organization operating several of the camps, placed the 
number at more than 35,000 refugees. 
 
According to the UNHCR, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees remain 
abroad--mainly in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, 
and Jordan.  Apart from those suspected of sympathizing with Iran, most 
fled after the Government's suppression of the civil uprising of 1991; 
others are Kurds who fled the Anfal Campaign of 1988. 
 
Of the 1.5 million refugees who fled following the 1991 uprisings, the 
great majority, particularly Kurds, have repatriated themselves to 
northern Iraq, in areas where the allies have prohibited overflights by 
Iraqi aircraft.  Several hundred thousand Kurds remain unsettled in 
northern Iraq because political circumstances do not permit them to 
return to their former homes in government-controlled territory. 
 
Northern Iraq is host to approximately 14,000 Turkish Kurds who have 
fled civil strife in southeastern Turkey.  The UNHCR is treating these 
displaced persons as refugees until it reaches an official determination 
on their status.  In late 1995, UNHCR successfully consolidated the 
Atrush Refugee Camp facilities to enhance protection and assistance for 
the refugees there. 
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
Citizens do not have the right to change their government.  The only 
free and open elections have been held in northern Iraq, and those only 
for local officials and institutions.  Full political participation at 
the national level is confined to members of the Arab Ba'ath Socialist 
Party, estimated at about 8 percent of the population.  The political 
system is dominated by the Party, which governs through the 
Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), headed by President Saddam Hussein.  
However, the RCC exercises both executive and legislative authority.  It 
overshadows the National Assembly, which is completely subordinate to it 
and the executive branch. 
 
The President wields decisive power over all instruments of government.  
Almost all powerful officials are either members of his family or are 
family allies from his home town of Tikrit. 
 
Opposition political organizations are illegal and severely suppressed.  
Membership in certain political parties is punishable by death (see 
Section 2.b.).  In 1991 the RCC adopted a law that theoretically 
authorized the creation of political parties other than the Ba'ath; in 
practice the law is used to prohibit parties that do not support Saddam 
Hussein and the current Government.  New parties must be based in 
Baghdad and are prohibited from having any ethnic or religious 
character.   
 
The Government does not recognize the various political groupings and 
parties that have been formed by Shi'a Muslims, as well as Kurdish, 
Assyrian, Turcoman, and other Iraqi communities.  These political groups 
continued to attract support notwithstanding their illegal status. 
 
In northern Iraq, all central government functions have been performed 
by local administrators, mainly Kurds, since the Government withdrew its 
military forces and civilian administrative personnel from the area 
after the 1991 uprising.  A regional parliament and local government 
administrators were elected in 1992.  This parliament last met in May 
1995.  Discussions among Kurdish and other northern Iraqi political 
groups continue on the reconvening of parliament, but the tensions 
between the PUK and KDP continue to prevent parliamentary activity. 
 
The Government's October 15 "referendum" on Saddam's presidency was not 
democratic.  Citizens were given a choice of voting for or against an 
extension of Saddam Hussein's rule for 7 years.  No other candidates or 
questions were included on the ballot, nor were there any political 
debates or campaigns.  Voters were obligated to identify themselves on 
their ballots.  Over 99 per cent of the electorate reportedly voted, and 
Saddam received 99.96 per cent approved the extension of his presidency.  
The Special Rapporteur and human rights groups noted that the denial of 
a secret ballot, as well as fears of reprisal for a negative vote, 
invalidated any claim that the referendum was democratic. 
 
The law provides for the election of women and minorities to the 
National Assembly, but they have only token representation. 
 
Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
The Government does not permit the establishment of independent human 
rights organizations.  It operates an official human rights group which 
routinely denies allegations of abuses.  Citizens have established 
several human rights groups abroad and in northern areas not under 
government control. 
 
As in 1994, the Government did not allow the U.N. Special Rapporteur to 
visit Iraq, nor did it respond to his requests for information on 
several cases.  The Government continued to defy various calls from U.N. 
bodies to allow the Special Rapporteur to visit the southern marshes and 
other regions. 
 
In 1995 the U.N. Human Rights Committee, the U.N. Subcommission on 
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, and the U.N. 
General Assembly all adopted resolutions condemning the Government's 
human rights violations.  For the third consecutive year, the UNHRC 
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."  The U.N. Subcommission on Prevention of 
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities adopted a resolution 
reiterating the UNHRC request for the deployment of monitors.  In 
December the U.N. General Assembly once again endorsed the request of 
the Human Rights Commission for monitors for Iraq.  The Government has 
continued to defy these calls for the entry of monitors. 
 
Nevertheless, the Special Rapporteur dispatched members of his staff--in 
June to Kuwait and in July to Lebanon--to interview victims of Iraqi 
human rights abuses.  The Special Rapporteur has asserted the need for 
further resources to carry out his mandate, while recalling that 
appropriate action on major issues like the Anfal Campaign are beyond 
the scope of his potential resources (see Section 1.g.). 
 
Several major human rights organizations, including HRW, released new 
reports on Iraq during the year.  Other reports were issued by the Iraq 
Foundation and the Amar Appeal.  Opposition organizations such as the 
Iraqi National Congress and the Supreme Council for the Islamic 
Revolution in Iraq also issued reports. 
 
The Government continues to fail to accept U.N. Security Council 
Resolution 688, which insists that the Government afford immediate, 
unrestricted access by humanitarian workers to all those in need of 
assistance in all parts of Iraq.  Throughout 1995 the Government 
threatened, harassed, and assaulted employees of the U.N. and 
nongovernmental organizations working in Iraq (see Sections 1.g. and 
2.a.). 
 
In April the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 986, providing 
another opportunity for the Government to sell oil in order to obtain 
food and other humanitarian goods for distribution to the Iraqi people 
under U.N. monitoring.  The Government rejected that resolution as an 
infringement on its sovereignty.  However, a senior-level delegation 
from Baghdad held an inconclusive round of negotiations with the U.N. 
Secretariat in February 1996.  A second round has been scheduled for 
March.  The Special Rapporteur noted in his November report that the 
Government failed to provide for the basic humanitarian needs of its 
civilian population, and that it is obligated to do so as a signatory to 
the United Nations Charter and the Covenant on Economic and Social 
Rights. 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
   Women 
 
Familial violence against women occurs but little is known about its 
extent.  Such abuse is customarily addressed within the tightly knit 
family structure.  There is no public discussion of the subject, and the 
Government issues no statistics.  Spousal violence constitutes grounds 
for divorce and criminal charges, but suits brought on these charges are 
believed to be rare.  Other reports are impossible to obtain due to the 
Government's strict controls on freedoms of expression. 
 
The Special Rapporteur has commented on rape committed by the armed 
forces and security services (see Section 1.b.).  He has noted that 
there is an unusually high percentage of women in the Kurdish areas, 
purportedly caused by the disappearances of tens of thousands of Kurdish 
men during the Anfal Campaign.  The Special Rapporteur has reported that 
the widows, daughters, and mothers of the Anfal Campaign victims are 
economically dependent on their relatives or villages because they may 
not inherit the property or assets of their missing family members.  
Other reports suggest that economic destitution has forced many women 
into prostitution. 
 
Evidence concerning the Anfal Campaign indicates that the Government 
killed many women and children, including infants, by firing squads and 
in chemical attacks. 
 
The Government claims that it is committed to equality for women, who 
make up about 20 percent of the work force.  It has enacted laws 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 girls; 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 practice.  Reports indicate, however, 
that the application of these laws has declined as Iraq's political and 
economic crisis persists.  Women are not allowed to travel outside Iraq 
alone. 
 
   Children 
 
No information is available on whether the Government has enacted 
specific legislation to promote the welfare of children.  However, the 
Special Rapporteur and several human rights groups have collected a 
substantial body of evidence pointing to the Government's continuing 
disregard for the rights and welfare of children. 
 
The Government's failure to comply with relevant U.N. Security Council 
resolutions has led to a continuation of economic sanctions.  As a 
result, general economic and health conditions have deteriorated 
dramatically.  Children have been particularly susceptible to the 
decline in the standard of living.  Increases in child mortality and 
disease rates have been reported. 
 
The Special Rapporteur has observed that, under these circumstances, the 
Government has special obligations 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 refusal to 
implement U.N. Security Council Resolutions 706, 712, and 986, which 
would permit the sale of oil in order to finance the import of 
humanitarian goods, has had an adverse effect on vulnerable populations, 
including children. 
 
In November the Special Rapporteur reported eyewitness accounts that the 
children of senior members of the Baath Party were treated to a variety 
of favors in the educational system, including privileged entrance and 
advancement throughout the system.  These reports confirm others from 
recent emigrants alleging systemic corruption that prevents fair 
advancement by deserving children whose parents do not have the 
requisite political ties. 
 
The Special Rapporteur also reported in November that "the obvious 
imbalance between military expenditure and resources allocated to the 
fields of health care and education clearly illustrate the priorities of 
the Government."  The Special Rapporteur has repeatedly observed that 
the ongoing bombardment of civilian settlements in the southern marshes 
has resulted in the deaths of many innocent persons, including women, 
children, and the elderly. 
 
   People with Disabilities 
 
No information is available on the Government's policy towards people 
with disabilities. 
 
   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Iraq's cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity are not reflected 
in the country's political and economic structure.  Various segments of 
the Sunni Arab community, which itself constitutes a small minority of 
the population, have effectively controlled the Government since 
independence in 1932.  Shi'a Arabs, the overwhelming majority of the 
population, have long been economically, politically, and socially 
disadvantaged.  Like the Sunni Kurds and other ethnic and religious 
groups in 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. 
 
The security forces reportedly were still encamped in the shrine to Imam 
Ali at Al-Najaf, one of Shi'a Islam's holiest sites, using it as an 
interrogation center.  The former Shi'a theological school in Al-Najaf, 
which the Government closed following the 1991 uprising, continues to be 
used as a public market.  Security forces continued to expel foreign 
Muslim clerics from Al-Najaf, under the pretext that the clerics' visas 
had expired. 
 
Kurds, who make up approximately 20 percent of the population, 
historically have suffered political and economic discrimination, 
despite the token presence of a small number of Kurds in the national 
Government (see Sections 1.a., 1.b., and 1.g.). 
 
Assyrians are an ethnic group as well as a Christian community (see 
Section 2.c.).  They speak a distinct language--Syriac.  Public 
instruction in Syriac, which was to have been allowed under a 1972 
decree, has never been implemented.  The Special  
 
Rapporteur reported continued discrimination against Assyrians 
throughout 1995.  According to opposition reports, many Assyrian 
families were forced to leave Baghdad after they had fled to that city 
for safety following the regime's suppression of the northern uprising 
in 1991. 
 
Citizens considered to be of Iranian origin must carry special 
identification and are often precluded from desirable employment.  Over 
the years, the Government has deported hundreds of thousands of citizens 
of Iranian origin (see Section 2.d.). 
 
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 provides for the freedom of association, 
trade unions independent of government control do not exist.  The Trade 
Union Organization Law of 1987 established the Iraqi General Federation 
of Trade Unions, a government-dominated trade union structure, as the 
sole legal trade federation.  The General Federation is linked to the 
Ba'ath Party, which uses it to promote party principles and policies 
among union members.  It is also affiliated with the International 
Confederation of Arab Trade Unions and the formerly Soviet-controlled 
World Federation of Trade Unions. 
 
Workers in private and mixed enterprises--but not public employees or 
workers in state enterprises--have the right to join local union 
committees.  The committees are affiliated with individual trade unions, 
which in turn belong to the General Federation. 
 
The Labor Law of 1987 restricts the right to strike.  No strike has been 
reported over the past two decades.  According to the International 
Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the severe restrictions on the right 
to strike include penal sanctions. 
 
   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 
 
The right to bargain collectively is not recognized.  Salaries for 
public sector workers (the majority of the employed) are set by the 
Government.  Wages in the much smaller private sector are set by 
employers or negotiated individually with workers. 
 
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. 
 
   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
 
Compulsory labor is theoretically prohibited by law.  However, the Penal 
Code mandates prison sentences, including compulsory labor, for civil 
servants and employees of state enterprises accused of breaches of labor 
"discipline," including resigning from the job.  According to the ILO, 
foreign workers in Iraq have been prevented from terminating their 
employment to return to their native countries because of government-
imposed penal sanctions on persons who do so. 
 
   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
The employment of children under age 14 is prohibited except in small-
scale family enterprises.  Children reportedly increasingly are 
encouraged to work in order to support their families, given the 
country's harsh economic conditions.  The law stipulates that employees 
between the ages of 14 and 18 work fewer hours per week than adults. 
 
   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
Theoretically, most workers in urban areas work a 6-day, 48-hour 
workweek.  Hours for government employees are set by the head of each 
ministry.  In practice, the rate of absenteeism has likely increased 
with the deterioration of socioeconomic conditions. 
 
Working hours for agricultural workers vary according to individual 
employer-employee agreements. 
 
Occupational safety programs are in effect in state-run enterprises.  
Inspectors theoretically inspect private establishments, but enforcement 
varies widely. 
 
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[end of document]

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