The respect and protection of human rights in Iraq remains fragile as the country continues its transition from years of conflict and violence to peace and democracy, says the United Nations in its most recent Report on Human Rights in Iraq, which covers the period from 1 January to 30 June 2012.
Violence remains of great concern, with the number of civilians killed having slightly increased compared to the same period in 2011. The report found that some 1,346 civilians were killed and 3,660 others were wounded during the first six months of 2012. Despite a decline in the overall number of incidents, the attacks were often more deadly, with a few attacks claiming scores of victims.
The report, which is produced by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), noted that the Government of Iraq took a number of positive steps to address certain human rights concerns, including some key legislative and institutional reforms. It welcomed the appointment of the Commissioners to serve on Iraq’s first Independent High Commission for Human Rights, the ratification by Iraq of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the launch of a reorganization and rehabilitation programme for detention centres and prisons under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.
The report also highlighted that many ordinary Iraqi women, children, persons with disabilities and members of ethnic and religious groups continue to face varying degrees of discrimination in the full enjoyment of their basic rights – and that many Iraqis still have limited access to basic services, including healthcare, education, and employment.