United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

15 October 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (c)


                       Situation of human rights in Iraq

                         Note by the Secretary-General

     The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of
the General Assembly the interim report on the situation of human
rights in Iraq prepared by Mr. Max van der Stoel, Special Rapporteur
of the Commission on Human Rights, in accordance with Economic and
Social Council decision 1996/277 of 23 July 1996.


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 6      3

II.   VIOLATIONS OF CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS .............    7 - 60     4

      A. Introduction .....................................       7        4
      B. Personal security and due process of law .........     8 - 21     4

      C. Freedom of opinion and expression ................    22 - 38     7

      D. Freedom of movement ..............................    39 - 42    10

      E. The nature of the political regime ...............    43 - 48    11

      F. National Assembly elections ......................    49 - 58    13

      G. Corruption .......................................    59 - 60    15

III.  THE RIGHTS TO FOOD AND HEALTH CARE ...................   61 - 86    15

      A. Introduction .....................................    61 - 63    15

      B. The "food-for-oil" agreement .....................    64 - 77    17

      C. Access to food ...................................    78 - 83    20

      D. The health situation .............................    84 - 86    22

IV.   THE SITUATION IN NORTHERN IRAQ .......................   87 - 106   23

      A. Introduction .....................................    87 - 90    23

      B. Use of excessive force ...........................    91 - 92    23

      C. Summary executions ...............................       93      24

      D. Arbitrary arrests ................................       94      24

      E. Responsibility pertaining to the military
         operation of 31 August 1996 ......................    95 - 103   25

      F. The humanitarian situation in northern Iraq ......   104 - 106   27

 V.   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ......................  107 - 117   28

      A. Conclusions ......................................   107 - 115   28

      B. Recommendations ..................................   116 - 117   30

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   In accordance with paragraph 11 of Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/72 of 23 April 1996, as approved by Economic and
Social Council decision 1996/277 of 23 July 1996, the present report
constitutes the interim report of the Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights in Iraq.  A final report will be submitted
to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-third session.

2.   In carrying out his mandate, the Special Rapporteur has again
examined a wide range of information pertaining to general and
specific allegations submitted through testimony and in documentary
form.  However, direct access to locations within Iraq has not been
possible owing to the Government of Iraq's continual refusal to
cooperate with the United Nations in receiving a return visit of the
Special Rapporteur to Iraq and, more importantly, the stationing of
human rights monitors throughout Iraq pursuant to resolutions of the
General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights.

3.   In implementation of paragraph 12 of Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1995/76 of 8 March 1995, regarding the sending of human
rights monitors "to such locations as would facilitate improved
information flows and assessment and would help in the independent
verification of reports on the situation of human rights in Iraq", and
notwithstanding the Government of Iraq's refusal to cooperate with the
placement of human rights monitors inside Iraq, the Special Rapporteur
requested the sending of staff members of the Centre for Human Rights
to Jordan.  This location was chosen because of the possibility of
obtaining relevant information from persons there who claim to be
victims of, or eyewitnesses to, human rights violations committed by
the Government of Iraq. Consequently, the present report contains, in
chapter II, the results of the Special Rapporteur's investigations,
considerations and conclusions based upon information received prior
to and during the aforementioned mission to Jordan by human rights

4.   Among the most visible and disturbing policies of the Government
of Iraq, affecting virtually the entire population, are those which
concern the rights to food and health.  In chapter III of the present
report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the situation regarding these
most vital of economic rights and offers his conclusions as to the
responsibilities of the Government of Iraq.

5.   Chapter IV of the present report describes the results of the
recent events which occurred in northern Iraq.

6.   The present report reflects information at the disposal of the
Special Rapporteur as of 23 September 1996.


                               A.  Introduction

7.   At the request of the Special Rapporteur, two staff members from
the Centre for Human Rights travelled to Jordan from 4 to 10 April
1996, in order to interview Iraqi citizens who had recently arrived in
that country.  The present section describes the results of the
mission based upon information received during the visit to Jordan and
allegations received previously and subsequently by the Centre for
Human Rights.  All witnesses testified that they had fled because of
the constant fear in which they lived and that the economic
deterioration had increased the arbitrary interference by security and
Baath Party officials in the daily lives of the citizenry.  Bribery
and corruption were also said to be a very common practice.  There was
said to be no rule of law and that the freedom of expression and
thought was non-existent. 

                 B.  Personal security and due process of law

8.   Arbitrary arrests were said still to be common throughout the
country.  Testimonies received recounted a previously well-established
pattern of individual arrests without warrant or charge leading to
arbitrary detention for often long periods of time without access to a
lawyer or being brought before a judicial instance.  Mass arrests were
also reported, particularly from the southern part of the country. 
The arresting agents were said to vary, but were typically part of the
security apparatus which is active outside normal police functions. 
As such, it appears clear that the security apparatus is still not
subordinated to the rule of law.  The evident effect of such
arbitrariness continues to be the absence of assured personal security
among the population.

9.   Insecurity is substantially heightened by the usual treatment
following arrest.  Upon arrest, cruel torture and gross mistreatment
still occur.  Several witnesses gave testimony about terrible tortures
that they suffered, sometimes over long periods of time.  A number of
witnesses testified that, during interrogations, they had been
regularly hanged by their hands which were bound behind their backs. 
In addition, they were beaten severely and subjected to electric
shocks on their chest, genitals and ears.  Two witnesses claimed that
they were forced to sit on bottles for minutes at a time.  One witness
testified that his shoulders had been dislocated.  As a result of
their tortures, victims suffered permanent physical and mental
effects.  One witness still bore numerous scars on his back.

10.  One witness testified that, in order to pressure him to confess in
1992, interrogators brought his seven-month pregnant wife to the
prison in which he was detained and hit her in front of him.  When she
started bleeding, the witness said that he agreed to confess even to
things that he had not done.  Thereupon, he was hit on the head and
lost consciousness.  His wife was then raped.

11.  Another witness who had participated in the 1991 uprising in
southern Iraq testified that he had later been arrested by the local
security forces and detained for two weeks.  He testified that a
tattoo on his arm was removed by interrogators using a device normally
used for peeling potatoes.

12.  Testimonies given by military deserters concerning penal
amputations confirmed that this practice continued to be enforced in
1995.  Large numbers of army deserters or draft evaders were said to
have been mutilated in this way with many among them dying of gangrene
after their ears had been cut since no medical assistance was
permitted to them.  Persons who have undergone this type of mutilation
were also said to be reluctant to leave their homes and sometimes wear
turbans when they do.  Witnesses confirmed that doctors were forced to
perform the operations or receive heavy penalties for refusal. 
Witnesses also alleged that, in 1995, a number of doctors were
executed in Amara for refusing to tattoo deserters on their foreheads
as required by governmental decree.  Some doctors who had refused to
implement the decrees were said to have had their own earlobes cut.

13.  On 29 August 1996, the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United
Nations Offices at Geneva addressed a note verbale to the Centre for
Human Rights containing the text, in Arabic, of the Revolution Command
Council's (RCC) Decree No. 81 of 5 August 1996 concerning the
suspension of the application of portions of RCC Decree No. 115 dated
25 August 1994 (for the full text of RCC Decree No. 115, see A/49/651,

14.  The substantive text of RCC Decree No. 81, which bears the
signature of President Saddam Hussein, reads as follows:

         "Pursuant to the provisions of article 42 (a) of the
     Constitution, the Revolution Command Council has decreed as
     "1. Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Revolution Command Council Decree
     No. 115 of 25 August 1994 shall cease to have effect.

     "2. This Decree shall enter into force from the date of its
     publication in the Official Gazette."  

15.  The effect of Decree No. 81 is to stop the punishment of
amputation of the auricle of the ears and the tattooing or branding of
the foreheads of army deserters, draft evaders or persons who
sheltered or protected them.  The Special Rapporteur welcomes the
promulgation of Decree No. 81 which will stop such inhumane acts which
constitute gross violations of human rights, as previously analysed by
the Special Rapporteur (see A/49/651, paras. 44-71, E/CN.4/1995/56,
paras. 32-43, and E/CN.4/1996/12).  However, it is to be noted that
RCC Decree No. 81 applies essentially to military personnel who have
deserted, or evaded, service.  Unfortunately, several other RCC
decrees prescribing amputations and tattooing as penalties for various
ordinary crimes remain in force, including specifically RCC Decree
Nos. 59, 74, 76, 92, 95, 96, 109, 117 and 125 of 1994.  The Special
Rapporteur has previously analysed these decrees prescribing
mutilations (for the texts of these decrees and the analysis, see

16.  Due process of law is especially ignored through the wide-spread
practice of holding family members and close associates responsible
for the alleged actions of others.  This application of "guilt by
association" causes wide-spread fear which prevents all sorts of
initiatives and paralyses civil society.  People are not prepared to
risk trusting anyone in any association with the fear that such
associations, on the basis of spurious aspersions motivated by
ulterior interests, may lead to loss of position, income, reputation,
liberty and even life. 

17.  Reports supported by testimony allege that persons who are
suspected of being opposed to the regime are frequently harassed when
not officially prosecuted.  For example, persons whose relatives have
left the country have been removed from jobs, have been forced to
change jobs every two to three months, have been deprived of passports
and from benefits accruing from their jobs.  It has been alleged that
persons have been detained and tortured after incidents in which they
took no part only on the basis of their background or family history. 

18.  Information was received that persons who have left the country
have been approached abroad by Iraqi agents urging them either to
return to the country or to work for the regime abroad.  Others have
received threats directed against themselves and their families.  In
all of the cases, the members of the family who had remained in Iraq
were subjected to constant harassment and periodic interrogation about
their relatives who had left the country.  For example, one witness
who had written articles criticizing the situation in Iraq in
publications appearing in the foreign press testified that his elderly
father living in Baghdad was arrested for two days and was threatened
with the idea that his son would be sent to him in pieces.  

19.  Testimony was also received with regard to persons who have been
released from prison on the basis of conclusion of their sentence or
on the basis of an amnesty and then are re-apprehended by governmental
agents, questioned about their activities and told to report regularly
to a particular person.  Persons are said often to be pressured to
collaborate with the authorities upon their release from prison. 
Another means of harassment is the withdrawal of food ration cards. 
The families of prisoners or persons sought by the security
authorities have also been evicted from their homes.

20.  One witness who had been imprisoned from 1983 to 1991 at Abu
Ghreib prison spoke about what happened to the members of his own
family during his detention.  According to his testimony, the Iraqi
security immediately opened a file on his sister, a teacher in a
secondary school.  She was asked to report every two weeks to a
security officer about her movements, her friendships and behaviour,
all of which resulted in psychological suffering.  She was indirectly
denied the opportunity to get married since two of her suitors (army
personnel) needed clearance from the authorities and two others
refused to be linked (fearing retaliation) to a person whose brother
was in prison.  A second sister enrolled at the Institute for
Teachers' Studies where membership in the Baath Party is mandatory. 
She concealed the fact that one of her brothers was in prison when
applying.  After completing her studies, she was transferred to teach
in a provincial town.  Since it is customary for employers to request
information about the personal history of a prospective employee from
their place of origin, they discovered that her brother had been
arrested.  Consequently, she was summoned to the Ministry of Education
and dismissed.  During the witness's detention, his brother, who was a
soldier in the war against the Islamic Republic of Iran, was
constantly placed in the most dangerous locations on the front.

21.  "Guilt by association" is facilitated by the authorities through
administrative requirements relating to reporting.  For example,
families are required to report if one of their members is a deserter. 
If not, they could be subjected to eviction from their places of
residence and their government food ration cards could be revoked.  In
order to avoid such treatment, they should report to their local Baath
Party sections denouncing the deserter in their family in order to
obtain a paper indicating that they had turned him in.

                     C.  Freedom of opinion and expression

22.  With regard to "the freedom to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas of all kinds" according to article 19 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it should be
noted that all persons interviewed testified that all means of mass
communication, including the press, television, radio and the news
agencies, are State owned or extremely closely controlled.  The
Government has strengthened its control over the information media
through a series of enactments, such as Press Act No. 206 of 1968,
which prohibits the writing of articles on 12 specific subjects,
including anything that may be deemed detrimental to the President,
the Revolution Command Council or the Revolution; section 16 of this
law penalizes violations with terms of imprisonment entailing
compulsory labour.  Thus, the Government has transformed the media
into an instrument of propaganda through which it can dominate and
control the flow of information. 

23.  More importantly, RCC Decree No. 840 of 4 November 1986 prohibits
any criticism of the President, the RCC, the National Assembly, the
Government or the Baath Party; this Decree has been analysed
previously by the Special Rapporteur.  A person convicted of offences
under this decree may receive a sentence ranging from a prison term,
including life imprisonment, to execution.  Decrees have also been
issued according to which persons who leave the Baath Party may be
executed, as is the case with persons joining the Baath Party without
declaring to which party they had previously belonged.  As to freedom
of information, it has been reported that the official gazette of the
Republic of Iraq, Alwaqai Aliraqiya, in which governmental laws,
decrees, orders and circulars are published, has a restricted
circulation and that even the members of the legal profession have
difficulty in obtaining copies. 

24.  Implementation of the decrees restricting freedom of expression
are known to be strictly applied.  One witness reported that, in 1993,
a telephone operator warned a person not to call abroad because the
lines were bugged.  Subsequently, the operator was arrested, taken to
his place of work and executed in front of his colleagues.

25.  In 1994, Omar Mohammed Fadil, a famous Iraqi "oudah" (a stringed
musical) instrument maker who had worked with Iraqi intelligence
during the occupation of Kuwait, expressed his wish to see his family
in Kuwait.  He was reportedly shot in the head in front of his
apartment, apparently to prevent him testifying against the Government
of Iraq.

26.  In 1995, a car mechanic was reportedly killed by being shot in the
head in his Volkswagen car after having expressed "his disgust at the
Saddam Hussein regime". 

27.  As concerns the freedom of the press and the publication of
written materials, the Ministry of Culture and Information
periodically holds meetings at which the orientation and general
guidelines are provided.  The official views are thus transmitted to
the subordinate offices and are adhered to until there is a change in
official position or until there is new information on the subject. 
The "official" views are said to represent either those of the
President or those of the Baath Party.  One person provided the
example of an instruction given to the written media during the war
between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq concerning the mandatory
derogatory way of referring to Iranians as "fire-worshipping
Persians".  During the second Gulf War, it was reportedly mandatory to
refer to the President of the United States of America as "the killer

28.  As concerns Iraqi journalists, they are placed under a lot of
pressure to join the Baath Party.  They must obey orders when told
what to write, especially instructions coming from the President's
son, Uday.  The telephones of journalists are said to be tapped. 
Those perceived as not obeying the official line are reportedly sent
to camps and subjected to degrading treatment such as the shaving of
one half of their mustache, shaving of their hair on only one side of
the head or pulling out of one or two teeth.  An example was given of
the humiliation of two elderly and very well-known journalists during
a conference in Baghdad.  While they were taking the floor on the
podium in front of their colleagues, the President's son, Uday, who
brought his friends with him to the conference, were said to have
started to pelt them with tomatoes since they were perceived as not
following his orders.  They were subsequently beaten by the army and
forbidden from exercising any activities having to do with the press. 
This was meant to serve as a deterrent for other journalists who were
present at the meeting and witnessed the whole scene.

29.  Most accusations levelled against journalists concern spying or
aiding a foreign State.  For example, one journalist working for a
well-known publication was said to have been abducted and then
extrajudicially executed on the accusation of spying.  It was later
discovered that he had negatively commented upon an article which
contained criticism against the Shias; the article had apparently been
written by Saddam Hussein under a pseudonym.  Journalists are
reportedly judged in special courts and not given access to legal
counsel or allowed family visits.  The example was given of a
journalist who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for
collaborating with foreigners.  According to testimony, what is meant
by "collaboration with foreign countries" is very subjective and may
amount to writing about the exchange rate of the United States dollar,
about prices in the market or that some situation in the country is
very bad.  Another journalist was said to have been sentenced to life
imprisonment for telling a joke about the President.

30.  In order to be published, an article reportedly needs to be
cleared by:  (a) the chief of section; (b) the secretary of the
editor; (c) the editor-in-chief; (d) the president of the unit. 
Journalists are required to mention the President as often as possible
- in articles on any subject, including culture and sports.  Even if
one wants to distance one's self from politics and write, for example,
about the theatre, the impact of Saddam Hussein on theatre life is to
be mentioned.  General guidelines on what to write are reportedly
issued at weekly meetings.  Journalists are allegedly told when to
criticize a particular country or raise a particular issue.  It has
been stated that if two or three months have passed without a
journalist having written about the President, they become subject to
suspicion and may face problems at work.  It has been reported that a
list of journalists who had left the country was published in which
they were described as traitors.  Persons who have expressed their
views about the war between Iraq and Kuwait, suggesting that the
invasion was unjustified, were reportedly singled out and removed from
their units if serving in the army.

31.  Foreign journalists who are allowed into the country are generally
accompanied closely by persons from the Ministry of Culture and
Information who, in fact, belong to the security service which deals
with foreigners.  As a consequence, they are limited in their freedom
to investigate.  Prospective interviewees are also dissuaded through
fear of association.

32.  The Ministry of Culture and Information, Act No. 94 of 1981, is
also noteworthy insofar as it stipulates that the Ministry is to
develop all aspects of culture "in accordance with the principles of
the Arab Baath Socialist Party in Iraq".  This type of provision
illustrates the central role played by the Baath Party in the
formulation of policies concerning information and culture.  It also
implies that no other culture or information is to be supported or,
indeed, tolerated.

33.  Intellectuals are under constant pressure to cooperate with the
Government and place their talents at its disposal.  In order to avoid
pressure, intellectuals try to keep a low profile either by leaving
Baghdad or becoming reclusive.  Numerous Iraqi intellectuals have left
the country simply because they refused to say, write or endorse
something which is not in accordance with their beliefs and values,
i.e. to avoid serving as instruments of propaganda for the regime.  In
addition, failure to comply with the dictates of the Government raises
the risk (to the individual and his or her family) of arrest,
detention, torture or even death.  The exodus of Iraqi intellectuals
and artists is said to have led to a major deterioration of the
cultural life of Iraqis.  In one example cited, the literary magazine
titled Al Aklam, which in the 1970s contained several literary
articles and poems, has now been reduced by more than one half its
volume with the value of its contents also said to have declined
dramatically; it is now considered merely as an instrument of

34.  Given the difficult economic situation prevailing in Iraq, and
taking into consideration the low average salary of journalists,
writers and artists, the means available to the Government to exercise
pressure on these persons and to effectively require them to produce
for the regime have been enhanced.  The Government offers periodic
financial handouts and awards, e.g. on the occasion of important
anniversaries, when such journalists or writers flatter the regime in
their "creations".  Acceptance of such handouts, which is effectively
compulsory, is perceived by some intellectuals as betrayal of their
own consciences and as compromises of their intellectual integrity
such that many of them are said to have been driven to acts of

35.  Books can be published only with the authorization of the Ministry
of Culture and Information.  Books published are usually those of
writers closely linked to the regime.  It has been reported that
attempts were made to enrol all writers and intellectuals in the Baath
Party.  If a writer finds an editor outside the country, approval of
the Ministry is required and censorship applied.  Publications from
abroad are generally prohibited.  The example was given of a book by a
well-known Iraqi writer published in Beirut.  The book was not
officially banned in Iraq, but only 20 copies were reportedly allowed
into the country.  Employees of the Ministry of Culture and
Information were then reportedly ordered to purchase the 20 available

36.  According to testimony, private possession of a typewriter,
photocopying machine or personal computer causes suspicion.  It is
also said to be well known that written correspondence between Iraqis
and persons living abroad is subject to systematic surveillance.

37.  It has been reported that direct telephone communication with
foreign countries has been effectively abolished.  Those wishing to
telephone abroad are required to go to telecommunication centres, show
their identity cards, register with the operator and wait to be called
to a cabin to speak, at a prohibitive price.  In addition, it has been
reported that telephone calls of persons in foreign countries wishing
to speak to their families in Iraq have been answered by operators who
have asked them, inter alia, who they were, where they were calling
from and why they had left the country.

38.  From the testimonies received, and noting the laws and regulations
concerning the media and other forms of expression, including artistic
forms, the possibility for citizens to freely express their opinions
is seriously undermined if not totally meaningless.  This freedom is
said to be further circumscribed by the activities of the security
services and their extensive network of informers which reportedly
spreads fear and suspicion among the population.

                            D.  Freedom of movement

39.  It is not possible to leave Iraq lawfully without a valid exit
visa.  All the witnesses indicated that exit from the country requires
possession of specific government authorization, which is very
difficult to obtain.  Applications for exit visas require certificates
of nationality, a security clearance, certification from the Ministry
of Defence stating that they have regulated their situation concerning
military service, identity cards, certificates of residence and the
government food ration card.  In connection with the requirement of a
security clearance, many witnesses reported that they have been denied
travel permits on the basis of suspected oppositional opinions and
activities.  Some witnesses stated that because they have been
detained during a period of time, they were not, upon their release,
permitted to travel and, in many cases, members of their families were
also denied this freedom.  Women suffer additional restrictions:  they
require permission from their husband, father or elder brother and
must generally be accompanied - although permission to travel may then
be denied to the relevant male family members.

40.  In the fall of 1995, the Government of Iraq increased once again
the exit tax to 400,000 Iraqi dinars (700 to 800 United States
dollars) on Iraqis travelling abroad - an enormous sum of money for
virtually every citizen (passports themselves reportedly cost only
some 50 Iraqi dinars).  It is clear that such a measure is of a
discriminatory nature as it reserves travel abroad for only the most
privileged who can afford to pay the large sum of money.  This is
exacerbated by the fact that separate bribes are often to be paid in
order to obtain each of the cited documents.  Irrespective of the
prohibitive financial obstacle to travel abroad, persons in the
liberal professions are not allowed to leave the country unless they
have a clearance from the security services and if they leave a
deposit which consists of an enormous sum of money in order to ensure
that they will return.  In relation to such professionals, it has also
been stated that even if they are formally told that they may leave,
administrative difficulties can still be created to prevent them from
obtaining the necessary papers.

41.  As regards the freedom of movement within the country, testimony
confirms that, since the uprising in 1991, travelling to the south of
the country from Baghdad to visit one's family is viewed with
suspicion.  It has been reported that the checkpoints between Baghdad
and the southern part of the country remain very numerous.

42.  With respect to movement between the central part of Iraq and the
northern territories from which the Government withdrew its
administration in October 1991, the Government recently announced that
the extraordinary restrictions on movement were lifted as of 10
September 1996.  Specifically, the Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Mohammed Said al-Sharaf, announced, inter alia, on State-run
television that "President Saddam Hussein, may God preserve him, has
ordered the lifting of all emergency measures which were necessitated
by previous extraordinary conditions on the movement of people to and
from the autonomous provinces, including the internal trade".  The
same announcement was also published in Al-Thawra newspaper on 12
September 1996.

                    E.  The nature of the political regime

43.  The Special Rapporteur has previously reported upon and analysed
this matter in detail (see, in particular, E/CN.4/1994/58, paras.
159-189).  However, in order to fully appreciate the situation of
civil and political rights in Iraq, i.e. the virtual absence of their
assurance, it is worthwhile recalling the main features of the
prevailing political regime in the country.  In particular, the system
of government has been described as not only being one-party, but
one-man.  In simple terms, it is a dictatorial, totalitarian regime. 
Contrary to the requirements of article 21 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the genuine will of the people is
certainly not the basis of the authority of government in Iraq, nor
are the obligations to guarantee "freely chosen representatives" or
hold "genuine periodic elections ... guaranteeing the free expression
of the will of the electors" respected in Iraq as required by article
25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

44.  Maintenance of the system has been achieved by transferring,
through legal instruments and sheer power, the effective authority of
governmental institutions to the Baath Party structure and, more
particularly, to the security apparatus.  Within this system, the
country is ruled by a small group of people composed mainly of
relatives of the President.  It is reported that the inner circle of
power is shrinking, even in the army.

45.  Testimonies received provide further evidence of the essential
irrelevance of ostensible governmental institutions.  According to
information received from reliable sources (a former Minister, a
Deputy Minister and a Director-General of the Presidency - who wish to
remain anonymous), the effective power of the Council of Ministers is
extremely limited since the President exercises the real executive
authority.  For example, Ministers do not even counter-sign decrees
promulgated by the President, regardless of their content.  The
President is also empowered to appoint and dismiss the Ministers,
including the Prime Minister, at will.  Thus, the Ministers are not
accountable to the National Assembly but to the President from whom
they receive their orders and directives.

46.  According to article 61 of the provisional constitution, the
Council consists of the Prime Minister and Ministers and is presided
over by the President of the Republic.  The powers of the Council are
regulated by article 62 of the provisional constitution and the
Council of Ministers Act of 1991.  The Council drafts bills of law
which are then submitted to the President of the Republic for
promulgation in accordance with the provisional constitution.  The
Council also drafts and promulgates regulations, with the exception of
regulations relating to the Ministry of Defence or the security
authorities which are promulgated by the President without even
consulting existing legislation or the regulations needed for
implementation.  Administration is also by Presidential order.  A
former Minister testified that he had learned about his own dismissal
from the radio.  In the case of another Minister, he simply received a
telephone call at his home to come to his office and remove his
belongings.  There are said to be no regular meetings of the Council
of Ministers, and the President of the Republic is said to be rarely
present at the meetings which are held.

47.  In the prevailing regime, there is absolutely no place for
criticism or dissenting views, not even at the highest level;
opposition is not tolerated. The country is run through extrajudicial
measures.  Order is maintained and work is achieved by harsh coercion. 
Persons are not even permitted the freedom to desist or resign.  For
example, it has been reported that no resignations are possible in the
civil service; one can only be dismissed.

48.  In the prevailing system, there is no rule of law.  The February
1996 killings of Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel have been described by
the official Iraqi press as the spontaneous administration of justice,
aimed at clearing the shame brought upon the victims' tribe.  The
killings occurred without any legal process and with total impunity. 
The perpetrators of crimes are said frequently to go without
prosecution depending upon their positions and connections.

                        F.  National Assembly elections

49.  Information was received about the elections for the renewal of
the four-year term of the National Assembly which took place on 24
March 1996.  Out of the 250 seats, 160 deputies reportedly belong to
the Baath Party, 60 are independent while 30 deputies representing the
northern region were appointed by the President.

50.  According to the Iraqi News Agency, as reported in the newspaper
Asharq al-Awsat, dated 1 April 1996, the National Assembly is composed
of the following number of deputies from each governorate:  Baghdad is
represented by 67 deputies.  The northern Governorate of Niniwa
(Mossul) is represented by 34 deputies.  The southern Governorate of
Basra is represented by 17 deputies, while Di Quar is represented by
13 deputies and Mastna has 4 seats.  The central Governorates of 
Babel and Dayqali are represented by 13 each.  The western Governorate
of al-Anbar (Ramadi) is represented by 11 deputies.  The Salah El Din,
al-Taamim, Najaf, al-Qaddissiya and Wassat Governorates are
represented by 9 each, while Missan Governorate is represented by 7,
and Karbala by 6 deputies.  It appears that representatives of tribes
constitute the largest number of persons elected.  In numerical order,
the largest number of representatives come from the following tribes: 
al-Takriti; al-Jabbour; al-Saadoun; al-Dulaimi and al-Shamri.  Women
represent 7 per cent of the deputies (16). 

51.  For the northern Governorates of Arbil, Dohuk and Suleimaniyah,
because the central authorities withdrew from the region in October
1991 leaving it to its own local administration, the population of
several million did not vote and President Saddam Hussein nominated
the deputies from that region. 

52.  During the first meeting which took place on 7 April 1996,
deputies reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of the Baath
Party.  On 8 April 1996, deputies elected the former Prime Minister
Saadoun Hamadi (former Prime Minister between 1991 and 1993) as the
President of the current National Assembly.  During a secret vote, he
received 248 votes out of 250.  An independent candidate obtained two
votes.  Saadoun Hamadi (a Shi'ite) is considered to be one of the
closest associates of President Saddam Hussein.  He has also held the
positions of Minister of Petrol and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

53.  Submission of applications for candidacy for election to the
National Assembly is scrutinized by the Ministry of Local Government
which comments on the applications before passing them to the Higher
Elections Commission which is empowered to deny candidacy should it
find an applicant insufficiently dedicated to the goals of the
revolution or having failed to demonstrate a sufficient commitment in
deeds.  The Higher Elections Commission is constituted by order of the
Revolution Command Council and is presided over by a member of the
Revolution Command Council sitting together with the Minister of Local
Government, the Minister of Justice and a representative of the Baath
Party.  Whether members of the Baath Party or not, elected Deputies
are nevertheless required to swear their support for the principles of
the Baath Party and the regime.  Among the beliefs required to be held
are that the first and second Gulf Wars have glorified the country.

54.  The selection of Baath candidates was reportedly made within the
cells of the Baath Party which subsequently submitted the names of the
candidates to the different sections and higher organs.  It has been
alleged that the Baath Party had instructed a number of its members to
run as independent candidates, i.e. the 60 "independents" who were
elected to the Assembly are actually members of the Baath Party. 

55.  Participation in the National Assembly is extremely limited by
virtue of several legal and political constraints.  In the first
place, the National Assembly Act excludes naturalized Iraqi citizens
or Iraqis born of non-Arab mothers from sitting in the National
Assembly:  article 14 (h) of the Act requires that representatives
must be Iraqis by birth (born of a father who was Iraqi by birth) and
born of an Arab mother.  Article 14 (i) of the National Assembly Act
also requires that Deputies must believe in the 1968 revolution and
participated in the war effort against Iran in some appreciable
manner.  Other acts restricting participation in the National Assembly
included Act No. 60 of 12 January 1982 which required membership in
the Arab Baath Socialist Party (over which President Saddam Hussein
presides with power to terminate membership).  It has been reported
that the remuneration received by the Deputies does not amount to a
salary but should be considered as a gift from the President.  In
addition, it was stated that all the Deputies elected to the Assembly
received a gift in the amount of 250,000 Iraqi dinars on the occasion
of their taking of oath on 7 April 1996.  It has been alleged that
there are annually some 12 to 15 occasions for this type of handout,
usually on the occasion of important anniversaries.

56.  It has been indicated that the Assembly has a purely consultative
role with regard to the President.  It does not approve or criticize
the law; its role is effectively limited, for example, approving the
regulations governing the conduct of work of different ministries or
choosing the names of streets and the like, with no influence
whatsoever on governmental policy.  Even the Cabinet is limited to
discussions over logistical or administrative matters and sometimes
those related to the economy.  No decisions on security or other
important matters are taken by the Cabinet.

57.  The elections were described as a farce, especially as far as
actual voting was concerned.  It has been said that the names of the
candidates who were ultimately elected were already ticked off on the
ballot-sheets handed to the voters, although they were given the
choice of selecting other candidates.  It has been reported that,
although voting was not compulsory, the turnout was high for fear of
possible retaliation.  As was the case with last year's referendum on
the President, voters were obliged to indicate their addresses on a
separable portion of the ballot.
58.  As concerns information available to the voters, it has been said
that no electoral programme was published or debated.  It has been
stated that the presentation of candidates amounted to a photograph, a
brief description of their studies, a list of the candidate's
publications, and the record of their participation in the two Gulf
Wars; emphasis was said to have been placed on the last

                                G.  Corruption

59.  In the absence of the rule of law in general and given the
essential nature of a dictatorial regime, one could speak of an
entirely corrupt politico-legal order.  While this may be so, there is
also a wide-spread prevalence of administrative corruption which has
been allowed, even encouraged, by the regime as a means of weakening
the population and maintaining control.  Bribery and theft by public
officials are said to be a serious problem which has reached epidemic
proportions since the Iraq-Kuwait War.  Without exception, witnesses
stated that through bribery they could buy passports, military
documents, residence permits or any other document needed.  The
problem of bribery has reached such proportions that persons who were
detained could buy their freedom if they had the right connections and
were able to pay a sufficient amount of money.  One person interviewed
reported that he was arbitrarily arrested in 1991 by the security
forces and detained in a detention centre called "death jail" located
on the premises of the Iraqi Olympic Committee which is headed by
President Saddam Hussein's son, Uday.  According to the witness, he
was released in 1994 when his family paid 1,250,000 Iraqi dinars.

60.  It has been alleged that, since the Iraq-Kuwait War, contact with
the administrative authorities increasingly involves corruption and
bribery.  The amounts needed reportedly depend on the documents
sought, the highest prices being paid for a passport and an exit visa
to leave the country.  For example, bribes are reportedly lower for
retired persons or persons who had completed their military service. 
Prices for this type of document allegedly also vary in accordance
with the status of the person requesting it.  These bribes may
reportedly be as high as 1.5 to 2 million Iraqi dinars.  Many people
have to sell all their furniture or even their homes in order to
obtain the necessary sums.  In addition, persons who cannot leave the
country because they hold sensitive jobs or practice a liberal
profession can obtain passports only through bribery and forgery, i.e.
under a false name and with fabricated personal data.  Finally, it has
also been reported that bribes ranging from 750,000 to 1.5 million
Iraqi dinars are required to obtain a telephone line.  


                               A.  Introduction

61.  The Special Rapporteur has reported and commented upon the rights
to food and health in all but one of his previous reports to the
Commission on Human Rights and to the General Assembly (A/46/647,
annex, paras. 52-54, 55 and 95-98; E/CN.4/1992/31, paras. 81-83, 138,
143 (w), 145 (o) and (p), and 158; A/47/367, para. 14; A/47/367/Add.1,
paras. 6-14, 56 (a), (b) and (c), and 58 (a), (b) and (c);
E/CN.4/1993/45, paras. 67-72 and 185; A/48/600, annex, paras. 33-42,
44-46, 58-59 and 62-88; E/CN.4/1994/58, paras. 72-79, 152 and 186;
A/49/651, annex, paras. 89-98; E/CN.4/1995/56, paras. 44-47, 54, 67
(m) and 68 (c); and E/CN.4/1996/61, paras. 30-40).  Since his first
appointment in June 1991, the Special Rapporteur has observed the
constantly deteriorating situation endured by the population.  This
dire situation has met the steadfast refusal of the Government of Iraq
to take advantage of resources available to alleviate the suffering of
the people - as the Government is obliged to do under international
law.  As such, there can be no doubt that the policy of the Government
of Iraq is directly responsible for the physical and mental pain,
including long-term disabilities, of millions of people and the death
of many thousands more. 

62.  Of evident relevance to the situation of economic rights generally
in Iraq are the effects of the sanctions placed on Iraq pursuant to
Security Council resolution 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990.  As the
Special Rapporteur has noted in the past, it must be understood that
resolution 661 (1990) explicitly exempts medicaments and, in
humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs.  There is, as such, no embargo
on the purchase or supply of medicaments or foodstuffs.  In addition,
Security Council resolution 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991 places a
special obligation on Iraq to cooperate with international
humanitarian agencies and organizations in receiving medicaments,
foodstuffs and related materials for humanitarian purposes in Iraq. 
Moreover, Security Council resolutions 706 (1991) of 15 August 1991
and 712 (1991) of 19 September 1991 enabled Iraq to sell, under United
Nations supervision, up to 1.6 billion United States dollars worth of
oil, of which 900 million United States dollars would have been for
medicaments and foodstuffs.  On 14 April 1995, the Security Council
adopted resolution 986 (1995) which has since presented Iraq with the
opportunity of selling oil up to the amount of 1 billion United States
dollars every 90 days, on a renewable basis, in order to purchase
essential food and medical supplies for humanitarian purposes. 
Unfortunately, the Government of Iraq chose, for almost six years
(i.e. until the late spring of 1996), not to accept the United
Nations-supervised sale of oil for humanitarian purposes on the
grounds that to do so would "violate Iraq's sovereignty" or be
"insulting".  Neither of these assertions were demonstrated and the
situation continued to deteriorate. 

63.  With respect to applicable standards through which the Special
Rapporteur viewed the situation of human rights in Iraq, reference is
to be made to two general obligations arising from the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Iraq is a
State party.  According to article 2 of the Covenant, the Government
has an obligation "to take steps ... to the maximum of its available
resources".  In interpreting this particular passage, the Special
Rapporteur has previously referred to the authoritative General
Comment 3 rendered by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights at its fifth session in 1990 (E/1991/23), which reads in part
as follows:

     "10. ... Article 2 (1) obligates each State party to take the
     necessary steps 'to the maximum of its available resources'.  In
     order for a State party to be able to attribute its failure to
     meet at least its minimum core obligations to a lack of available
     resources it must demonstrate that every effort has been made to
     use all resources that are at its disposition in an effort to
     satisfy, as a matter of priority, those minimum obligations.

     "11. The Committee wishes to emphasize, however, that even where
     the available resources are demonstrably inadequate, the
     obligation remains for a State party to strive to ensure the
     widest possible enjoyment of the relevant rights under the
     prevailing circumstances ...

     "12. Similarly, the Committee underlines the fact that even in
     times of severe resource constraints whether caused by a process
     of adjustment, of economic recession, or by other factors the
     vulnerable members of society can and indeed must be protected ...

     "13. ... The Committee notes that the phrase 'to the maximum of
     its available resources' was intended by the drafters of the
     Covenant to refer to both the resources existing within a State
     and those available from the international community through
     international cooperation and assistance. ..."

                       B.  The "food-for-oil" agreement

64.  As was the case with "the food for oil" formula presented to the
Government of Iraq pursuant to Security Council resolutions 706 (1991)
and 712 (1991), the Government initially rejected the offer made in
resolution 986 (1995) - despite the fact that the total available
annual sale of oil would amount to 4 billion United States dollars in
the year, i.e. about one quarter of Iraq's total export sales prior to
its invasion of Kuwait and the imposition of United Nations sanctions. 
Indeed, the United Nations offer received unfavourable responses from
the Government from its inception and was turned down completely by
both the Iraqi Cabinet of Ministers and the National Assembly.

65.  In order to move ahead with the "food for oil" formula available
pursuant to Security Council resolution 986 (1995), on 18 January
1996, the Secretary-General addressed a letter to Iraqi Deputy
Minister Tariq Aziz inviting the Government of Iraq to start
discussion on the implementation of the resolution.  On 22 January
1996, the Government of Iraq accepted the Secretary-General's
invitation to enter into discussion with the Secretariat of the United
Nations with a view to implementation of the "food for oil formula". 
In view of his repeated recommendation that the Government of Iraq
cooperate with the United Nations and accept the resources available
to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, the Special Rapporteur
was pleased to note that, on 20 May 1996, the United Nations and the
Government of Iraq concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (also known
as the "oil-for-food agreement") which details the practical
arrangements for the implementation of Security Council resolution 986
(1995), including duration and renewability of the agreement,
distribution plan, establishment of an escrow account, sale of
petroleum and petroleum products, procurement and confirmation of
procedures, distribution of humanitarian supplies and observation of
the distribution of humanitarian supplies.

66.  The primary goal and overall purpose of the agreement was to
ensure the effective implementation of resolution 986 (1995).  Of
particular importance in the Memorandum of Understanding is the
inclusion of a distribution plan for the intended beneficiaries of
humanitarian supplies.  According to the Memorandum of Understanding,
the Government of Iraq undertakes to effectively guarantee equitable
distribution to the Iraqi population throughout the country of
medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs, and materials and other
supplies for essential civilian needs (hereinafter humanitarian
supplies) purchased with the proceeds of the sale of Iraqi petroleum
and petroleum products.  In order to comply with Iraq's obligations
under international human rights law, this commitment to "equitable
distribution" must be non-discriminatory and respond to the genuine
needs of the people. 

67.  Since the Government of Iraq has withdrawn its administration from
much of the three northern Governorates of Arbil, Dohuk and
Suleimaniyeh, the distribution of humanitarian supplies in the three
northern Governorates is to be undertaken by the United Nations
Inter-Agency Humanitarian Programme on behalf of the Government of
Iraq, under the distribution plan with due regard to the sovereignty
and territorial integrity of Iraq. 

68.  The observation process will be conducted by the United Nations
through the dispatching of a number of observers to the country.  The
objectives of the United Nations process shall be, inter alia, to
confirm whether the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies to
the Iraqi population throughout the country has been ensured, to
ensure the effectiveness of the operation and determine the adequacy
of the available resources to meet the population's humanitarian

69.  In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding, the Government
of Iraq submitted, in June 1996, the distribution plan which was
prepared for the purchase and distribution of food, medicine, medical
supplies and other essential needs.  According to this plan, food
distribution will be implemented within the existing rationing system
through the government ration cards.  Medicine and medical supplies
will reach the beneficiaries through hospitals and primary health care
centres throughout the country using the existing distribution system.

70.  According to the Government of Iraq, every Iraqi citizen, Arab and
foreign resident in Iraq is entitled by law to obtain a "rationing
card" from the Registration Centres established throughout the
country, i.e. from 400 centres.  These centres establish lists of
families by name, age and number of consumers in each household.  The
documents required to obtain a rationing card are:  for Iraqi
citizens, a civil status identity card; for foreigners, a residence
identity card and passport, together with a residence confirmation.

71.  The Special Rapporteur notes that, while the public rationing
system has reportedly so far functioned in general terms quite
efficiently, the procedure to obtain a "rationing card" is onerous and
often arbitrary and, moreover, it is evident that the system is easily
susceptible to manipulation for political purposes.  Indeed, the
Special Rapporteur has received reports over a long period of time,
supported by considerable testimony, alleging that the system of
rationing is employed on a discriminatory basis in certain regions and
between regions as a means of political repression and persecution.

72.  With regard to the procedure to obtain a rationing card, reports
indicate that citizens have to pass through a complex administrative
maze which is excessively time-consuming and often entails bribery
along the way.  First they must obtain a confirmation of domicile from
the neighbourhood Mukhtar (Council), which must be authenticated by
the neighbourhood Information Office, and an information card
(containing security information) from the same Information Office. 
Thereafter, they must go to the neighbourhood People's Council, taking
the following documents:  the Civilian Affairs identity card (original
and copy), the certificate of Iraqi nationality (original and copy),
the marriage certificate if married (original and copy), the domicile
card (original and copy), the confirmation of domicile obtained and
authenticated as explained above, and the military service booklet for
those discharged from service or a letter from the military unit
confirming the person's ongoing military service for those not
discharged from service.  The supporting letter then obtained from the
neighbourhood People's Council is to be brought to the head office of
the Governorate's People's Councils.  The letter is then taken from
the Governorate's People's Councils to the Ministry of Trade.  A
letter from the Ministry of Trade is then brought to the Ministry of
Trade's warehouses in the area of domicile, whereupon a foodstuff's
agent is designated near the place of domicile.

73.  As for the equity of the Government's food distribution, it should
be noted that the matter of possession of valid identification cards
place most of the inhabitants of the remaining southern marshes in a
particularly vulnerable position because most of them typically have
never had identification cards due to their unique life-style
situation.  The process of seeking and obtaining such documents also
places these persons at risk of attacks against their personal
security in so far as they are immediately suspected, if not accused,
of anti-Government activities or are held responsible for the real or
suspected anti-Government activities of their relatives.  Without
guarantees of due process of law, the administrative procedures
relating to the governmental rationing system constitute a serious
threat to many persons. 

74.  In addition to this complex administrative process, there are many
allegations that the system of rationing is unfair, corrupt and
arbitrary.  For example, the system is said to be widely used by the
Iraqi Government to reward political supporters and to silence
opponents.  Persons requesting a "rationing card" must be known by the
security and party organs as loyal to the Government. Persons,
families and tribes accused of cooperating with the opposition are not
allowed to receive coupons.  This restriction may be lifted if new
proof is provided of their loyalty to the President and Baath Party.

75.  Tribal areas and villages surrounding the southern towns which are
considered by the Iraqi Government as hiding places for its opponents
are also denied the rationing cards.  For example, the Special
Rapporteur has received credible reports that most families of the
al-Hayyadir tribe who reside near the Salih River in the al-Amdayna
district in Basra Governorate have been denied rationing cards. 
Reports also indicate that about 70 per cent of the families living
near the al-Izz River are without rationing cards; among these persons
are families of the al-Bubakhit, al-Shafaniya, Beni Malik and
al-Hayyadir tribes.  Some families of the al-Shariji tribe living in
al-Muwajid in Chebayish district in Basra Governorate have also
reportedly been denied rationing cards. 

76.  Another means of abusing the system of rationing is the
governmental practice of periodically replacing rationing cards, thus
requiring new scrutiny of beneficiaries and their families.  Rationing
cards are also said to be cancelled if any member of the family is
arrested on any charge, whether for an ordinary crime or a political
offence.  This is also so in the case of an army deserter or draft
evader.  During the present hardships of the Iraqi people, it can
safely be assumed that this provides a further incentive not to engage
in any kind of political activity.

77.  With respect to the time of implementation of the Memorandum of
Understanding, the Special Rapporteur observes that, subsequent to the
Government's use, on 31 August 1996 of military personnel and heavy
arms against the civilian population in northern Iraq and in view of
the insecure situation which has thereupon prevailed, the
Secretary-General announced, on 1 September 1996, the decision to
delay deployment of United Nations personnel and effectively to
suspend implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding
(see SG/SM/96/189).  The Special Rapporteur acknowledges that the
security of United Nations personnel must be assured in order for them
to perform their tasks.  However, he regrets that this situation
precipitated by the actions of the Government of Iraq effectively
postpones implementation to the detriment of those persons in need.

                              C.  Access to food

78.  As a consequence of the Government of Iraq's long intransigence on
the "food for oil" formula, the economic situation continued to
deteriorate and prices of essential food items and basic living
commodities fell even further out of reach for a large part of the
population.  In its September 1996 assessment of the emergency
requirements for the period October-December 1996 by the United
Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Humanitarian Cooperation Programme
for Iraq, the Department for Humanitarian Affairs has stated as

     "The humanitarian situation throughout Iraq is dismal.  The
     majority of the civilian population is believed to be living
     below the poverty line.  At present, family incomes are
     generally not more than a fraction of pre-1991 levels.  The
     non-replenishment of basic food and health items in the
     market place, linked largely to expectations regarding the
     implementation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995), has
     resulted in price increases of 50-100 per cent during the
     period between late August and early September 1996.  The
     cumulative effects of economic sanctions, hyperinflation,
     unemployment and of this year's 30 per cent drop in crop
     production have contributed significantly to the hardship and
     suffering of the vulnerable groups of the Iraqi population
     which have now reached disquieting levels."

Indeed, the Special Rapporteur reached such a conclusion long ago and
has been expressing his disquiet about the unnecessarily poor
humanitarian situation in Iraq since his intial report to the
forty-sixth session of the General Assembly in November 1991

79.  At present, the average Iraqi citizen depends on food rations,
introduced by the Government in September 1990.  The system provides
basic foodstuffs to the population at 1990 prices, which means that
they are virtually free.  However, the number of distributed items and
their volumes have declined since introduced.  As of January 1996, the
subsidized food basket distributed by the Government contained five
essential food items, namely wheat-flour, rice, sugar, tea and cooking
oil; infant milk powder is also distributed to children under one year
of age.  A report on the health conditions of the population in Iraq
since the Gulf crisis, published in March 1996 by the World Health
Organization (WHO), indicates that the rationed foods supply one third
of the daily minimum caloric needs.

80.  With food rations meeting only one third of the usual food energy
needs, and meat being too expensive to afford on an average salary,
vegetables and fruits have increased in importance in the diet.  The
prices of these items have also risen, although production has
increased.  Other items in the daily diet, especially dairy products
and poultry, in which the country was almost sufficient, are now being
sold on the open market at very high prices, which only those at the
highest income level can afford.  The animal stocks have,
consequently, declined steeply, as has the production of dairy

81.  It is to be noted that some selected citizens receive additional
assistance from the Government.  Since 1 October 1994, about 3.5
million persons, comprising all civil servants in active service,
military, police, security and other elite forces, civil servant
pensioners, military pensioners, social welfare beneficiaries and war
veterans with a 60 per cent or greater disability, receive a monthly
allowance of 2,000 Iraqi dinars.

82.  Although the number of privileged groups and persons appears to be
declining, certain groups remain privileged by comparison to others,
e.g. high-ranking military officers and Baath Party elite.  This
privilege is to be observed not only in the fact that the average
salary of a civil servant is one half that of a military officer, but
the Government is said to distribute supplementary amounts of eggs,
chicken, red meat, frozen fish, as well as home appliances such as
freezers at less than half the market prices to general directors and
leaders of the Baath Party and the State offices.  More importantly,
members of the Baath Party and military officers enjoy their own food
distribution network through cooperatives and they receive special
salary allowances depending on their relationships with their
supervisors and the extent of their support for the official policies
of the Government.  It has also been reported that two types of
salaries exist in Iraq:  regular ones and those received by the
members of the Baath Party.  Persons who have been in the Baath Party
for at least 10 years are called "Friends of Saddam" and receive an
additional 25,000 to 30,000 Iraqi dinars a month in comparison to the
7,000 to 10,000 salaries that they would receive if this were not the
case.  Of course, this is to say nothing of the bribes and "gifts"
which Government and Baath Party officials may obtain by virtue of the
important administrative positions they may be assigned.  Moreover,
the inner circle of the leadership does not appear touched by any
economic hardships affecting their access to food or health care. 
Indeed, some of the leadership have increased their real and relative
wealth at the expense of the population through profits derived from
the rationing system and the skewed market conditions.

83.  During the mission to Amman, all Iraqis interviewed were unanimous
in stating that the food and health situation, and the socio-economic
situation in general, had become precarious.  All of them reported
that, while in Iraq, they were preoccupied in their daily lives trying
to achieve a subsistence-level existence.

                           D.  The health situation

84.  According to the above-mentioned study published by WHO in March
1996 (i.e. "Health conditions of the population in Iraq since the Gulf
crisis"), the Iraqi health infrastructure remains crippled.  There is
a lack of minimum health care facilities, pharmaceutical and other
related equipment and appliances.  Medical supplies remain scarce. 
Hospitals report that malnutrition has become a major contributor to
many health problems.  Over 50 per cent of the hospitalized children
under the age of five suffer from malnutrition.  The lack of supplies
and spare parts for electricity generating plants, water-purification
plants and sewage treatment facilities has led to significant
increases in waterborne and diarrhoeal diseases.  Diseases such as
cholera, typhoid and malaria, which were once essentially under
control in Iraq, have rebounded since 1991 at epidemic levels.  It is
estimated that 500,000 Iraqi children have died because of the
non-compliance of the Iraqi Government with Security Council
resolutions 706 (1991), 712 (1991) and 986 (1995) since the end of the
Gulf War.  Moderate to severe malnutrition in children is prevalent in
several governorates.  The infant mortality rate and the mortality
rate for children under five years of age have increased due to
malnutrition of mothers and children as well as the prevalence of
infectious diseases.

85.  Access to health care is also said to be extremely limited.  As in
the case of access to food rations, the problem of identification
cards interferes with access to health care available through the
urban medical centres.  Public hospitals are reportedly functioning at
only half of their capacities due to the shortages of medical
equipment and available medicines.  Receiving special medication in
public hospitals is said to require bribes and personal connections in
order for the citizen to enter the hospital to be treated, or to
undergo surgery.  There is also systematic discrimination as described
above in relation to access to food.  In particular, Baath Party
members and military leadership are given special treatment in
exclusive hospitals such as "Ibn Bitar" and "Ibn Sina" which have the
necessary equipment and services.  For those who are able to afford
it, another alternative would be the private sector where the
phenomenon of private hospitals under the control of a group loyal to
the President and his inner circle is growing.  For the average
citizen, a last alternative for medical care can be found on the black
market where costs are exhorbitant.

86.  The distribution of limited health care resources also takes place
on discriminatory grounds by region.  The central Iraqi cities
continue to enjoy preferential treatment.  The infrastructure (such as
water purification and sewage systems) in the southern cities
continues to lag far behind that of the central parts of Iraq.  Access
to health care is also said to be extremely limited for the marsh Arab
people who remain in the region.  As in the case of access to food
rations, the problem of identification cards interferes with access to
health care available through the urban medical centres.

                      IV.  THE SITUATION IN NORTHERN IRAQ

                               A.  Introduction

87.  Following the uprisings in northern Iraq in March and April 1991,
and the subsequent withdrawal of the central administration and Iraqi
security apparatus from the region in October 1991, the predominantly
Kurdish region has been self-administered.  Unfortunately, disputes
between Kurdish factions contributed to insecurity in the region with
significant inter-factional armed clashes in 1996.

88.  According to reports received by the Special Rapporteur, on
31 August 1996, between 30,000 and 40,000 Iraqi troops, composed of
three divisions of the Iraqi Republican Guards, backed by 80 tanks,
heavy artillery and helicopters, first shelled and then captured the
city of Arbil, the local capital of the predominantly Kurdish
self-administrated zone.  As justification for these actions, the
Government of Iraq announced that the President of the Kurdish
Democratic Party, Mr. Massoud Barzani, had on 23 August 1996 sent a
letter to President Saddam Hussein requesting him to intervene with
his forces in northern Iraq in order to assist the Kurdish Democratic
Party in gaining control of the city of Arbil.

89.  The use of Iraqi military forces, including heavy weapons, against
civilian targets is a clear violation of Security Council
resolution 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991 which demands that the
Government of Iraq cease oppression of its civilian population,
particularly in the northern Kurdish area.

90.  After careful examination of testimonies and reports received, the
Special Rapporteur believes the following violations of human rights
took place on a large scale during the military operations.

                          B.  Use of excessive force

91.  As appears from reports received, many villages were shelled by
Iraqi artillery before they were entered by government troops.  On
31 August and 1 September 1996, the Kurdish towns of Bustaneh and
Kifri, south of Suleimaniyah were attacked by Iraqi air force and
heavy weapons.  The area of Arbil was subject to shelling from Iraqi
positions along the Arbil-Mosul to Arbil-Kirkuk roads (north to
south-west of Arbil).  On 1 September 1996, the district of Shorash in
Suleimaniyah was shelled by Iraqi forces.  It was further reported
that on the same day the Sheoshur area near Taqtaq, 25 km north-west
of Chamchamal (on the Kirkuk-Suleimaniyah road), was shelled resulting
in many casualties. 

92.  The indiscriminate shelling by the Iraqi forces of civilian
settlements in the northern regions of Iraq has been a recurrent
practice well before the recent clashes.  For example, on
1 January 1996 the villages of Lower Darman and Upper Darman, situated
on the lower Zab river in the Sheik Bazani area, were reportedly
bombed by helicopters based in Kirkuk and by tanks and armoured
battalions of the 8th Division.  As a consequence, several homes were
destroyed.  On 24 April 1996, the villages of Pir Da'ud and Lajan and
their surrounding areas, located 20 km south and west of Arbil, were
the object of heavy bombardment lasting at least six days.  On the
same date, the villages of Khur and Qashqa, near the Arbil-Kirkuk
road, were reportedly shelled.

                            C.  Summary executions

93.  A local hospital reported at least 100 casualties following the
drive by Iraqi troops into Arbil.  Witnesses to the fighting estimated
the number of dead in Arbil to be in the hundreds, if not many more. 
It was reported that the Iraqi security forces, helped by members of
the Kurdish Democratic Party, executed several members of the Iraqi
National Congress and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in the streets
following house-to-house searches by Iraqi security with lists bearing
specific names.  For example, on 31 August 1996, 96 Iraqi army
officers and soldiers, who had previously deserted the Iraqi army and
fled to northern Iraq, were reported to have been captured by Iraqi
security forces near the town of Qushtapa, located 22 km south of
Arbil, and executed in front of the local population.  In a "Statement
to Iraqi public opinion regarding Iraqi violations against Iraqi
opposition elements in Arbil and the Kurdistan Democratic Party's
position regarding them", issued on 11 September 1996, the Spokesman
for the Kurdish Democratic Party confirmed the total responsibility of
the Iraqi army in the executions of "some elements of the Iraqi
National Congress who were in Qushtapa ... with forces of the Talabani
Party [i.e. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan]".  In the same statement,
the spokesman acknowledged the responsibility of "the Iraqi
intelligence unit" in the arrests of several individuals following the
event in Qushtapa:  "a group of dissidents was indeed arrested,
comprised of Iraqi National Congress, Turcoman groups, and Islamic
Action personnel".  The fate of these persons is unknown and it is
generally believed that they were also summarily executed.

D.  Arbitrary arrests

94.  Several members (including the Deputy Speaker) of the Parliament
which was organized in the self-administering northern region,
together with Ministers (including the former Prime Minister of the
regional government) as well as a large number of intellectuals,
lawyers, journalists and university lecturers are reported to have
been arrested during the military operation of Iraqi forces at the end
of August and in early September 1996.  Between 31 August and
4 September 1996, several sources reported that at least 1,500 persons
were arrested in Arbil (including women and children) by the Iraqi
Security Forces and taken by military trucks to a prison located at
the headquarters of the First Army Corps in Krikuk.  It was
furthermore reported that, on 2 September 1996, 150 members of an
oppositional group and persons suspected of involvement with
oppositional groups (all Iraqi Arabs), were detained with their family
members by secret service personnel or Mukhabarat in Salahuddin,
located 25 km north-east of Arbil.  Their fate remains unknown.

              E.  Responsibility pertaining to the military operation
                  of 31 August 1996

95.  International humanitarian law requires that minimum norms be
respected in internal armed conflicts.  The norms and specific
standards of international human rights law also apply in situations
of armed conflict, as possibly varied by permissible derogations;
since the Government of Iraq has not availed itself of the opportunity
of derogation, all relevant standards apply (on the question of
derogations, see E/CN.4/1992/31, paras. 34-39).

96.  With regard to international humanitarian law, the Republic of
Iraq has freely acceded to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949
relative to the humanitarian laws of armed conflict.  Treaty
obligations regarding conflicts of an internal nature derive from
common article 3 to the four aforementioned conventions.

97.  In addition to its treaty obligations, Iraq is also obliged to
respect the relevant rules of international customary law,
particularly those concerning the "elementary considerations of
humanity" in times of armed conflict as well as in times of peace as
expressed by the principles in common article 3 to the Geneva
Conventions of 12 August 1949.

98.  As regards obligations specifically in internal armed conflict,
the International Conference on Human Rights held in Tehran in 1968
requested the Secretary-General, "after consultation with the
International Committee of the Red Cross, to draw the attention of
States Members of the United Nations system to the existing rules of
international law on the subject and to urge them to observe that in
all armed conflicts, the inhabitants and belligerent are protected in
accordance with 'the principles of the law of nations derived from the
usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity
and the dictates of the public conscience'".  The cited standard,
known as the "Martens clause", was included in the preamble to the
Hague Regulations of 1907 concerning the Laws and Customs of War on
Land and was then incorporated into the four Geneva Conventions of
1949 (art. 63 of the first, art. 62 of the second, art. 142 of the
third and art. 158 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).

99.  Three customary principles of human rights protection are
incorporated in the Martens clause:  (a) that the right of parties to
choose the means and methods of warfare, i.e. the right of the parties
to a conflict to inflict injury on the enemy, is not unlimited; (b)
that a distinction must be made between persons participating in
military operations and those belonging to the civilian population so
that the latter are spared to the maximum extent possible; and (c)
that it is prohibited to launch attacks against the civilian
population as such.

100.     The Martens clause has acquired a customary character and
thus applies independently of participation in the treaties containing
it.  It is of a non-derogeable nature and applies whether or not a
state of war has been declared or the state of war is recognized by a
party to the conflict.  In 1949, the International Court of Justice,
in the Corfu Channel case, recognized the customary nature of these
humanitarian requirements:  it ruled that "elementary considerations
of humanity" belong to the general and well-recognized principles
which have to be observed in peacetime as well as in times of armed
conflict (The Corfu Channel Case, Merits, I.C.J. Reports 1949, p. 22).

101.     The International Court of Justice expanded upon this
doctrine in the Barcelona Traction case of 1970 when it stated that
"there are obligations of a State towards the international community
as a whole" (Case concerning the Barcelona Traction, Light and Power
Company Limited, second phase, Judgement of 5 February 1970, I.C.J.
Reports 1970, para. 33).  It went on to state that these obligations
may arise "also from the principles and rules concerning the basic
human rights of the human person" some of which "have entered into the
body of general law" (ibid., para. 34).

102.     As concerns the application of these principles in situations
of peace, the International Court of Justice elaborated upon the Corfu
doctrine in 1986 in the case of Nicaragua v. the United States of
America when it held that "certain general and well-recognized
principles, namely:  elementary considerations of humanity, [are] even
more exacting in peace than in war" (Nicaragua v. the United States of
America, Merits, I.C.J. Reports 1986, paras. 215 and 218, citing The
Corfu Channel Case, Merits, I.C.J. Reports 1949, p. 22).

103.     The following fundamental guarantees contained in common
article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 are also
applicable in all situations pertaining in Iraq:

         "1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities,
     including members of the armed forces who have laid down their
     arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds,
     detention or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be
     treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race,
     colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other
     similar criteria.

         "To this end the following acts are and shall remain
     prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to
     the above-mentioned persons:

         (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all
     kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

         (b) Taking of hostages;

         (c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating
     and degrading treatment;

         (d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of
     executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly
     constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are
     recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

F.  The humanitarian situation in northern Iraq

104.     The humanitarian situation in northern Iraq deteriorated in
the past year amid the continuing "double embargo" (i.e. the
combination of international economic sanctions against the Republic
of Iraq and the severe internal economic blockade imposed by the
governmental authorities in Baghdad) and the inter-factional fighting
in the self-administered region.  This situation was made much worse
upon the intervention of Iraqi armed forces causing significant
destruction, interrupting the work of international humanitarian
agencies and precipitating the departure of international
non-governmental humanitarian organizations.  It has also been
reported that the Iraqi troops who entered the villages upon the first
attacks burned and destroyed houses after having looted valuable
property.  Major buildings, including hospitals and water and
sanitation systems, were reportedly looted, damaged and in some cases
destroyed.  According to the report of September 1996 prepared by the
Department for Humanitarian Affairs, referred to above, the recent
events in the northern region have created a chaotic situation,
especially in Arbil and Suleimaniyah, with more than 500 schools
"totally looted" while "a large number" of other schools were "heavily

105.     According to the same September 1996 report produced by the
Department for Humanitarian Affairs, the recent outbreak of
hostilities in northern Iraq has resulted in the displacement of some
20,000 people within northern Iraq and caused the departure of an
estimated 39,000 people for the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The armed
conflict in Arbil city also resulted in the cutting off of electricity
supplies, essential to the running of both water and sewage systems. 
These systems have been severely damaged.  Out of 183 water systems in
working order before the conflict, only 27 remain functioning, thereby
affecting directly some 440,000 people.  A major electricity
generating facility (Dokan Dam) had essential electronic cards
removed.  Consequently, the electricity required to supply water to
Suleimaniyah has now to be routed from the Darbandikhan Dam, resulting
in frequent power failures.  Discontinuation of electricity supply has
adversely affected water supply and public health services.  Blood
banks have been rendered unusable as have been medicines and vaccines
which require refrigeration.

106.     Upon Iraq's withdrawal of its civil services from northern
Iraq and its withholding of the salaries of civil servants and
pensioners, the Government of Iraq imposed a severe internal blockade
on the import of food, fuel and medicines - a blockade which it
steadfastly denied.  The inhabitants of the region became particularly
dependant upon international humanitarian assistance.  As a result of
the recent Iraqi military operation, most of the non-governmental
organizations working in the region have stopped their activities due
to the insecurity of their staff and the uncertainty of the situation. 
While the Government announced on 12 September 1996 that the internal
embargo was lifted (thus admitting that it had imposed and maintained
such an embargo over the years) and also announced a broad amnesty to
persons in northern Iraq, the staff of non-governmental and
intergovernmental humanitarian organizations remain extremely
concerned for their security because the amnesty does not apply to
persons who were involved in "espionage" - a broad term in Iraq which
may be used to cover persons engaged by humanitarian bodies acting in
northern Iraq without the permission of the authorities in Baghdad.


A.  Conclusions

107.     Upon consideration of the various aspects of the situation of
human rights in Iraq, it remains clear that there has been no
improvement in the situation of human rights in the country.  It also
remains clear that a small number of persons continue to be
responsible for the tremendous suffering of the population.

108.     With regard to the application of cruel and inhuman
punishments, in particular amputations and mutilations, the effect of
RCC Decree No. 81 underlines the fact that several other decrees (i.e.
RCC Decree Nos. 59, 74, 76, 92, 95, 96, 109, 117 and 125 of 1994)
prescribing penalties of amputation for ordinary criminal offences
continue to be in force in clear violation of international standards
prohibiting such cruel, unusual and inhuman punishments.

109.     It is evident that the imposition of military forces composed
of tens of thousands of troops and including heavy artillery and tanks
in action against civilian targets and resulting in numerous deaths
and a large number of arrests and missing persons constitutes a clear
violation of Security Council resolution 688 (1991).

110.     As concerns the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Special
Rapporteur welcomes the agreement reached in May 1996 to finally
implement Security Council resolution 986 (1995) following six years
of constant refusal by the Government of Iraq to take advantage of
Security Council resolutions 706 (1991), 712 (1991) and 986 (1995). 
The Special Rapporteur considers the adoption of Security Council
resolution 986 (1995) as an important further step on the part of the
United Nations to respond to the humanitarian situation in Iraq
perpetuated by the Government of Iraq's non-compliance with various
other Security Council resolutions.  For the benefit of the
long-suffering people of Iraq, the long-overdue acceptance by the
Government of Iraq of the available resources is to be viewed as a
positive step.

111.     While the Special Rapporteur acknowledges that the proposed
supervised sale of oil constitutes a control mechanism, he observes
that such a supervision would function only to guarantee that those in
need of the benefits of the sale do indeed receive the benefits.  In
the absence of such a mechanism, the established record of the
Government of Iraq makes it far from certain that any flow of resource
benefits will go to those in the greatest need.  This is the
fundamental reason why the Security Council has required a supervised
sale of oil under resolutions 706 (1991), 712 (1991) and also 986

112.     As a result of the Memorandum of Understanding between the
Government of Iraq and the United Nations, the Special Rapporteur
notes again that the nationwide distribution of food and medical care
will be undertaken by the Government of Iraq based on its system of
rationing cards.  In view of the previously abusive use of this system
by the Iraqi authorities, the Special Rapporteur must express the hope
that the implementation of the agreement will be properly assured
through international monitoring.  He hopes that the United Nations
will vigorously perform this task throughout the country to the
benefit of the Iraqi population.

113.     At the same time that the Government of Iraq has failed to
take steps to enlarge the resources available to it and, therefore, to
those in need, the Government has continued with policies of evident
discrimination in violation of article 2, paragraph 2, of the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 
Specifically, the geographic disparities between the pace of
reconstruction and availability of rations and other basic needs
favours the central part of the country and clearly disfavours the
south.  Not only has the Government chosen to attend to the needs of
the central region over all others, but it has at the same time caused
the withdrawal of international humanitarian assistance to the
southern region which is specifically disfavoured.  Beyond this basic
geographic disparity also remain the clear preferences granted to
specific strata of society in the pay of the Government, e.g. Baath
Party elite, the military in general and some divisions in particular.

114.     The Special Rapporteur recalls that human rights are
indivisible and inalienable.  They attach to every person by virtue
simply of the fact that they are human beings.  They are not granted
or allotted by the Government of Iraq, the Revolution Command Council
or President Saddam Hussein.  Having undertaken to respect within the
jurisdiction of the State of Iraq the specific terms of international
standards, the Government and its high officers are under an
obligation to respect each person's human rights to food and health.

115.     The Special Rapporteur notes that the Government of Iraq has
cooperated to a significant degree with United Nations humanitarian
agencies on a number of questions.  But, the Government has also
imposed requirements which have not facilitated delivery of assistance
swiftly and efficiently to all parts of the country; for example, the
United Nations agencies were long ago required to withdraw their
offices and international staff from the southern governorates. 
According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed in relation to
implementation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995), United
Nations monitors will enjoy full diplomatic immunity protecting them
from harassment by Iraqi officials.  However, experience has shown
that governmental authorities have not always respected such
immunities.  For example, the Special Rapporteur notes that members of
the inspection teams of the Special Commission monitoring the
disarmament of Iraq pursuant to Security Council resolution 661 (1990)
were denied, on several occasions, access by the Iraqi authorities to
sites in Iraq designated for inspection, although an agreement exists
between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations to allow them
unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities, equipment,
records and means of transportation which they wish to inspect. 
United Nations humanitarian personnel have been similarly obstructed
and harassed in the past.  The Special Rapporteur hopes that this will
not be the case in the implementation of the Memorandum of
Understanding and that ordinary Iraqis will not continue to suffer
because of the obstructionism of the Government.  To this end, the
Special Rapporteur also hopes that conditions in Iraq will soon meet
the minimum security concerns of the Secretary-General in order to
allow implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding without
further delay.

B.  Recommendations

116.     In view of the general conclusion that the overall situation
of human rights in Iraq has not improved, the Special Rapporteur
refers to all of his previous recommendations, which remain valid.

117.     In addition, and in particular, the Special Rapporteur
recommends the following:

     (a) That the Government of Iraq abrogate all laws and decrees
which prescribe cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

     (b) That the Government of Iraq refrain from actions which
contribute to insecurity affecting the population, such as the use of
military forces against civilian targets, and which prevent
implementation of the "food for oil" formula under independent United
Nations supervision.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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