United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

8 November 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 an addendum to 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.


          Report on the field mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran in
          the framework of the Iraq mandate, 14 to 24 October 1996:
                  interviews with refugees from northern Iraq


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................     1 - 4     3

II.   EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS .............................     5 - 6     4

      DESTRUCTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY ......................     7 - 8     5

IV.   ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTION ......................     9 - 10    5

 V.   FORCED RELOCATION ....................................       11      6

VI.   IMPACT OF THE AMNESTY DECREE .........................       12      7

VII.  CONCLUSIONS ..........................................       13      7

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   In implementation of paragraph 8 of Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/72 of 23 April 1996 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
taking into account the refusal of the Government of Iraq 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 of the Secretariat to the Islamic Republic of Iran.  This
location was chosen in order to receive testimonies and reports from
Iraqi citizens who had recently crossed the border into the Islamic
Republic of Iran as a result of the fighting that took place in
northern Iraq in early September 1996 and who claimed to be victims
of, or eye-witnesses to, human rights violations committed by the
Iraqi Army and Iraqi Security, particularly in the city of Arbil and
its surrounding areas.

2.   The present section describes the results of the mission based
upon information received during the visit to the Islamic Republic of
Iran by two staff members from the Centre for Human Rights from 14 to
24 October 1996, taken into consideration documentation subsequently
received in Geneva.  During the mission, the staff members visited
five refugee camps and received detailed testimony from a total of 50
refugees from northern Iraq.  They also met with other persons of
interest from intergovernmental and non-governmental humanitarian
organizations.  The interviewed refugees may be divided into three
groups:  (a) Kurds who had lived their whole life in northern Iraq;
(b) Arabs who had lived only for a certain period in northern Iraq
(which many had used as a refuge in order to escape the Iraqi
authorities), including army deserters and persons who participated in
some Iraqi oppositional groups; and (c) Turkomen who had recently
arrived in northern Iraq after having been forced to move from their
homes in Kirkuk as a result of the alleged policy of Arabization.  The
population living in the camps that were visited had arrived in the
Islamic Republic of Iran following the events that took place in early
September 1996.  Therefore, the events mentioned below do not refer to
the outbreak of the fighting that took place in October and has
resulted in another flow of persons crossing the border into the
Islamic Republic of Iran; the mission was simply unable to meet with
the new arrivals.  The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the cooperation
of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in responding
promptly to his request for the mission and in facilitating
unobstructed access to the region and camps identified by the United
Nations staff members, who were able to speak in freedom and
confidence with the persons of their choosing.  The Special Rapporteur
also notes the efforts made by the Government of the Islamic Republic
of Iran to provide humanitarian assistance to the thousands of persons
in need.

3.   All interviewees provided recent information on the situation in
northern Iraq.  The interviewees came from different regions in
northern Iraq, including the urban centres of Arbil, Suleimaniyah and
Kirkuk and the rural communities of Chooman, Kesri, Rowandiz,
Koysanjak, Raniah and Qalidizah.  Army deserters and those involved in
the opposition often had a story of personal persecution in the past. 
However, the interviews concentrated on information pertaining to the
current situation in northern Iraq following the recent fighting
between the two main factions, i.e., the Kurdish Democratic Party
(KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).  

4.   Most of the interviewees stated that the Iraqi Army and government
security services had moved into the northern territory to engage in a
campaign clearly aimed at eliminating remnants of the opposition. 
Most, if not all, of the refugees stated that Iraqi security services
(units of Al Amn-al Khas, al Amn Al-Amma, Military Intelligence and
Mukhabarat), had employed a variety of means to terrorize and remove
from influence or activity persons living in the area who were
considered to be hostile to the Government of Iraq and to destroy all
the offices and logistics used by these groups during the past five
years when the northern territory was not under the authority of the
Government in Baghdad.  All non-Kurds living in the region were said
to be presumed to be members of the opposition, with several having
been arrested and taken to Mossul, Kirkuk or Baghdad if not subjected
to immediate extrajudicial sanctions, including execution.

                         II.  EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

5.   Several persons who escaped from Arbil in the week following the
events estimated the number of dead in Arbil to be in the hundreds. 
Most, if not all, of the people interviewed explained that Iraqi
security forces, helped by members of KDP, conducted on the very first
day of their intervention in Arbil operations against all the offices
which belonged to the oppositional groups.  These operations resulted
in the destruction of several offices of the Iraqi National Congress
(INC), the Iraqi National Turkoman Party (INTP), the Iraqi National
Party, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)
and PUK.  Members of these political parties who were found in their
offices at that time were reportedly subject to summary executions. 
Many interviewees stated that because all of these operations were
conducted the first day of the intervention, such actions were
evidently prepared well in advance and were aimed at destroying and
silencing all opposition groups active in the area.

6.   Most of the interviewees reported that the Iraqi security forces,
helped by KDP members, had executed members of INC, INTP and PUK.  The
following specific evidence was received through testimony.

     (a) On 31 August 19969, 96 military members who belonged to
Brigade No. 3 of the forces of INC were executed on the spot in the
area of Qushtapa, near their military camp.  The mother of one of the
victims who was looking for her son described the scene, stating that
more than 70 dead bodies were found laying on the ground.  They were
divided into two groups.  The first one was composed of 50 dead bodies
who were grouped as if their executions had taken place at the same
time.  Another 20 bodies lay about the yard as if they had been shot
one by one;

     (b) On the same day, it is alleged that a joint operation
conducted by members of the Iraqi Army and KDP had resulted in an
attack on one of the offices of INTP located in western Arbil.  The
fighting between the members of INTP and the Iraqi forces was said to
have resulted in the death of more than 11 Turkomen;

     (c) In a third case, a group of Iraqi Arab students who were
studying at Sallahudin University in Arbil, was also said to have been
specially targeted by the Iraqi security forces.  Of a total of 70
Arab students, one third were allegedly captured and executed, one
third fled to the Syrian Arab Republic and the remaining one third are
now in the Islamic Republic of Iran;

     (d) Four Arab medical doctors are also said to have been executed
during the events.

                 OF PRIVATE PROPERTY

7.   According to testimony received during the mission, Arbil and
several other locations in northern Iraq (such as Inqawa, Killek, Peer
Dawud and Qushtapa) were indiscriminately shelled by fixed artillery
and tanks before government troops and KDP forces entered.  The
indiscriminate use of heavy artillery caused injury and death to
numerous innocent civilians and destroyed a lot of private property. 
Following these attacks, Iraqi Security entered the locations with
civilian and military vehicles and proceeded to conduct searches
through the houses belonging to the members of oppositional groups. 
The troops who entered Arbil and the villages surrounding the city
after the attacks allegedly burned and destroyed some of the houses
and regional administrative premises, as well as University buildings
and facilities.  It was also reported that the main factories in Arbil
were dismantled with valuable machinery taken to the territory under
the control of the Government of Iraq.

8.   Many refugees stated that scores of houses belonging to Arabs,
Turkomen and Kurds (especially those presumed to be sympathizers of
PUK) were looted and taken over by KDP members and Iraqi security
agents.  Many other houses that were unoccupied by their owners during
the intervention were also looted because those who were not at their
homes were considered to be PUK supporters or members of the
opposition.  A large number of private cars (most of which belonged to
Arabs, Turkomen and presumed sympathizers of PUK) were also stolen by
members of the Iraqi Army and KDP forces.


9.   Some of the interviewees reported that the Iraqi forces
(Mukhabarat and Istikhbarat) conducted house-to-house searches with
lists bearing specific names of Arabs, Turkomen and Kurds who were
supposedly members of the opposition.  They were assisted in their
searches by members of KDP, who were well-informed about locations and
personalities of interest to the government agents.  All persons found
were reportedly taken for initial questioning in temporary places of
detention in Arbil, such as the building of the Kurdish Parliament. 
If the persons were believed to be members of oppositional groups with
clear responsibilities, they were immediately transferred to Mossul,
Kirkuk or Baghdad for further questioning.  According to reports
received, the Iraqi Army attacked several houses looking for Arabs in
the city of Inqawa.  When the persons were not found, their relatives
were taken instead as "hostages".  About 20 families were said to have
been subjected to such a practice in this locality.  In the city of
Salahuddin, in which the headquarters of INC was located, members of
about 150 families were allegedly arrested and taken to unknown
destinations.  The same practice is said to have occurred in the city
of Arbil, from where dozens of families were also abducted.  Most of
the interviewees witnessed the transfer of all these persons and a
number of buses involved for their transportation.

10.  According to testimony received, several members of oppositional
groups were taken from their respective offices.  Examples given are
as follows.  

     (a) Three members of SCIRI were arrested in their offices in
Arbil by a joint operation conducted by the Iraqi Mukhabarat and KDP

     (b) Nineteen members of the Islamic Labour Organization, along
with five visitors to the office, were taken away by Iraqi forces.  It
is reported by several sources that all of these men were taken to
Mosul and severely tortured by government agents before being taken to
Baghdad.  Among the five visitors was Dr. Hasan al-Tamimi (an Arab
from the city of Bassra), who was not involved in any oppositional
activity but was working for a humanitarian organization in Arbil
hospital treating victims of thallium poisoning.  Although
Dr. Hassan al-Tamimi has a long history of human rights violations
against his person, it is said that he was not involved in any
political activities and was just visiting a friend when he was

     (c) On 1 September 1996, eight people working at the INTP radio,
television and newspaper building in Arbil were abducted by a joint
group of KDP and Iraqi Mukhabarat and Istikhbarat when they attacked
these locations.  Interviewees also stated that, on 2 September 1996,
the headquarters of INTP located in Arbil was attacked by a joint
group of KDP and Iraqi agents.  Four INTP members were reportedly
killed during the attack and over 11 persons were taken away.  Other
members of Turkomen organizations, such as student and women's
organizations, were also allegedly taken away, bringing the total
number of Turkomen taken away to over 250.

                             V.  FORCED RELOCATION

11.  All of the Turkomen encountered in the refugee camps alleged
constant oppression and persecution, which they claimed to have been
subjected to while living in Kirkuk.  These acts included arrest
without charge, internal deportation or exile, and confiscation of
personal property and real estate.  Such oppression and persecution is
said to have originated in a government policy to replace the Turkomen
with Arabs in Kirkuk, where the Turkomen constitute a significant part
of the population and have lived for a long time.  In addition,
Turkoman citizens of Kirkuk Governorate who were interviewed testified
that they had been subjected to restrictions on the purchase and sale
of real estate:  they claim only to have been allowed to sell to
Arabs.  For example, one Turkoman woman (a graduate from Baghdad
University who was most recently residing in Arbil) testified that she
was living with her family in Kirkuk when, in 1994, they were ordered
to move either to southern Iraq or to the northern region.  In order
to force compliance with this instruction, they arrested her brother
who was to be released as soon as her family moved away.  When her
family agreed to move, it was given an administrative paper from the
police office authorizing them to sell their belongings and house, but
only to Arabs.  Another Turkoman from Kirkuk recounted the same story
stating that, on 23 November 1995, the Iraqi authorities had arrested
his father in order to oblige them to leave the city either for Arbil
or Suleimaniyah in the north or to somewhere in the south.  His family
was given 10 days notice, which was not sufficient to sell their
belongings in an appropriate manner or to sell the house.  On
3 December 1995, his father was released from detention and they left
Kirkuk for Suleimaniyah.  This practice is consistent with that
previously reported upon by the Special Rapporteur (see, e.g.,
E/CN.4/1994/58, paras. 59 and 140).

                       VI.  IMPACT OF THE AMNESTY DECREE

12.  On 11 September 1996, the Revolution Command Council issued Decree
No. 97 which grants "a full and comprehensive amnesty" to all Iraqi
citizens in the Kurdish Autonomous Region.  However, that decree
includes exclusions that are cause for concern among the intended
beneficiaries.  Specifically, persons accused of having "looted State
property" or "spied for the benefit of foreigners" are expressly
exempted from amnesty.  Since these exemptions lack detail any may be
subject to arbitrary application, they do not inspire confidence among
the population.  Indeed, none of the refugees interviewed expressed
confidence in the decree.  Some compared the decree to the one
granting amnesty to Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law, who were
subsequently killed upon their return to Iraq.  Others said the decree
was merely "ink on paper" or even "a cartoon".

                               VII.  CONCLUSIONS

13.  The testimonies received during the mission to the Islamic
Republic of Iran confirm reports previously received by the Special
Rapporteur.  They detail typical and well-documented practices of the
Government of Iraq.  The undeniable effect of these practices is to
instil terror into the population, to eradicate opposition and to
force the population into submission.  In the face of such terror,
large numbers of persons have again chosen to flee across
international frontiers through difficult terrain and to unknown
circumstances in search of refuge.  Overall, the testimonies received
confirm that the nature and conduct of the Government of Iraq has in
no way changed from that reported upon by the Special Rapporteur
through the course of his appointment.


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