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A/50/734
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AUNITED
NATIONS

General Assembly
  Distr.
  GENERAL

  A/50/734
  8 November 1995
  
  ORIGINAL:  ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 112 (c)


HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATIONS AND
REPORTS OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS AND REPRESENTATIVES

Situation of human rights in Iraq

Note by the Secretary-General


  The Secretary-General has the  honour the transmit  to the members of  the
General Assembly the  attached interim report  prepared by  Mr. Max van  der
Stoel,  Special  Rapporteur  of  the  Commission  on  Human  Rights  on  the
situation  of human  rights in  Iraq,  in accordance  with paragraph  14  of
Commission  on Human Rights resolution  1995/76 of 8 March 1995 and Economic
and Social Council decision 1995/286 of 25 July 1995.























95-34423 (E)   221195/...
*9534423*
 ANNEX

      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
      Commission resolution 1995/76 and Economic and Social
Council decision 1995/286


CONTENTS

  Paragraphs  Page

I.  INTRODUCTION ..........................................1 - 93

II.  REVOLUTION COMMAND COUNCIL DECREES NOS. 61 AND 64 .....10 - 174

III.  THE MISSION TO KUWAIT .................................18 - 346

  A.  The fate of persons missing as a result of the
    Iraqi occupation of Kuwait ........................18 - 286

  B.  Information regarding other violations of
    human rights ......................................29 - 349

IV.  THE MISSION TO LEBANON ................................35 - 4010

V.  THE RIGHTS TO FOOD AND HEALTH .........................41 - 5112

VI.  THE REFERENDUM OF 15 OCTOBER 1995 .....................52 - 5816

VII.  CONCLUSIONS ...........................................59 - 6318

VIII.  RECOMMENDATIONS .......................................64 - 6819
I.  INTRODUCTION


1.    In  accordance  with  paragraph  15  of  Commission  on  Human  Rights
resolution  1995/76 of  8 March  1995, as  approved by  Economic and  Social
Council decision  1995/286 of 25 July  1995, the  present report constitutes
the  interim report  of  the Special  Rapporteur on  the situation  of human
rights in Iraq.   The final  report will  be submitted to the  Commission on
Human Rights at its fifty-second 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,  including  script,
photographs  and  video recordings.   However,  direct  access to  locations
within Iraq has again  not been possible owing  to the Government's  refusal
so far to cooperate with the United  Nations in receiving a return  visit of
the Special Rapporteur to  Iraq or to accept  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 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 Government  of Iraq's
refusal to cooperate in the placement of human  rights monitors inside Iraq,
the Special Rapporteur requested the sending of staff members of the  Centre
for  Human  Rights to  Kuwait  and Lebanon.    These locations  were  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.

4.  The first mission referred  to above took place from 22 to 30 June 1995,
when two staff members from the Centre for  Human Rights travelled to Kuwait

in  order to follow  up on  the Special Rapporteur's  continuing concern for
Kuwaiti and third-country nationals who disappeared  in the custody of Iraqi
authorities  during the illegal occupation of Kuwait in  1990 and 1991 (see,
in particular,  A/49/651, paras.  12-33 and  99) and,  at the same  time, in
order  to meet  with  Iraqi citizens  who had  recently  fled from  Iraq  to
Kuwait.   During  the visit  to Kuwait,  the staff  members met  with a wide
range  of  persons  and  received  testimony,  together  with  supplementary
information in  documentary  and photographic  form.    Section III  of  the
present  report describes the  results of  the mission  based on information
received prior to and during the visit to Kuwait.

5.   The second  fact-finding mission took  place from  24 to  30 July 1995,
when  two  staff members  from  the  Centre  for Human  Rights  travelled to
Lebanon in  order to interview  Iraqi citizens who  had recently  arrived in
that country.   Three days were  spent in the  town of  Chtaura towards  the
Lebanese  border  with  the Syrian  Arab  Republic  in order  to  meet  with
recently  arrived  Iraqi  citizens  living  in  the  Syrian  Arab  Republic.
Section IV of the present report describes the  results of the mission based
upon information received prior to and during the visit to Lebanon.
  6.   On  4  September 1995,  the Special  Rapporteur  submitted  his first
periodic  report to the  Commission on  Human Rights  pursuant to Commission
resolution 1995/76  (E/CN.4/1996/12), in which he  studied the  texts of two
recent  decrees of  the Revolution  Command  Council  that were  reported to
grant amnesty to specified categories of persons.   A summary of the report,
highlighting the Special Rapporteur's  analysis and comments  with regard to
the importance of the  decrees and their impact is reproduced in section  II
of the present report.

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

8.  In  section VI of  the present  report, the  Special Rapporteur  reports
upon the referendum  held in Iraq on 15 October  1995.  In his analysis,  he
applies  the  international   human  rights  standards  to  which  Iraq  has
voluntarily ascribed in the area of civil and political rights.

9.   Aside from the matters addressed below, it is again to be observed that
there are no signs of improvement in the  general situation of human  rights
in Iraq.  The details of this overall  assessment of the situation of  human
rights in  Iraq, taking into account  ongoing developments, will be given in
the  Special Rapporteur's report  to the  Commission on Human  Rights at its
fifty-second session.


II.  REVOLUTION COMMAND COUNCIL DECREES NOS. 61 AND 64

10.   On 28 July 1995,  the Government of  Iraq transmitted,  through a note
verbale from its Permanent Mission in  Geneva addressed to relevant  special
rapporteurs and  working groups of the Commission on Human  Rights, the text
of  Revolution Command  Council decree  No.  61 dated  22 July  1995,  which
"remits  the remainder of  the sentences  of Iraqi  prisoners and detainees,
commutes death sentences to life imprisonment  and pardons persons liable to
the  penalty of amputation of  the hand or  the auricle of  the ear".   By a
second note, dated 2  August 1995 from the Permanent Mission of the Republic
of Iraq  to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed  to the Centre for
Human Rights,  the Government  of Iraq  transmitted the  text of  Revolution
Command Council decree  No. 64 (bearing  the signature of Saddam  Hussein as
Chairman of the Council and entering into force on 30 July 1995), which  was
said to  grant "a  general amnesty  to Iraqis living  in or outside  Iraq in
respect of  the penalties  imposed on  them following  their conviction  for
political  reasons".    The  full texts  of  decrees  Nos.  61  and  64  are
reproduced in  the annex to the  Special Rapporteur's  first periodic report

(E/CN.4/1996/12).

11.   The decrees introduce  considerable opportunity  for arbitrariness and
abuse at the  hands of undoubtedly biased  persons.  For example,  paragraph
II of decree No. 61 stipulates that reductions of sentences will apply  only
in such cases  where the relatives of  those imprisoned "undertake to ensure
their good conduct" and "provided  that the said undertaking  is endorsed by
a member of the Arab Baath Socialist Party".  Similarly, paragraph VI  gives
an  advantage  to  those  who  have   "obtained  an  understanding  of   the
revolutionary  course  of action"  while  paragraph  VIII,  subparagraph  3,
effectively  conditions  exemption from  applicable amputation  decrees upon
repentance.    For  example,  in  terms  of  the  independent  and impartial
administration of  the criminal justice  system normally  required, one  may
wonder on what basis members of  the Arab Baath Socialist Party  are to play
a determinative role.

12.    If  careful  consideration  is  given  to  the  many  conditions  and
exclusions contained in the decrees, it will be  seen that large numbers  of
persons apparently addressed  by the  decrees would  not in  fact enjoy  any
benefit.   For example, the  decrees apply  only to  persons "convicted"  or
"sentenced", presumably in  a formal  juridical sense,  subsequent to  court
proceedings and  orders.   Yet large numbers  of persons remain  detained in
Iraq, and  are subject  to punishment, in  the absence of  formal or  proper
convictions or sentences. These persons would  not enjoy the benefit  of the
decrees.

13.  Another limiting aspect of  decree No. 64 is that  it expressly applies
only to "citizens"  and "Iraqis" rather than anyone having been found guilty
of commission of the offences irrespective  of nationality.  The application
of paragraphs II and III of the decree are thus discriminatory in so far  as
they exclude  non-nationals, whilst the  Government has previously  stripped
hundreds of thousands of persons of  their "Iraqi" nationality by  asserting
their "Persian ancestry".

14.  Regarding the  explicit exclusions to be found in the decrees,  persons
convicted  of "espionage"  are excluded  from  application of  the  decrees.
This is a particularly  important exclusion in  the case of Iraq because  so
many laws  refer to  "espionage" and  because the  crime applies  to a  wide
variety of behaviour.

15.   Finally,  there are  evident  shortcomings  within  decree No.  61  as
regards  the  continuing effects  of  decrees  prescribing  amputations  and
branding. Specifically,  paragraph III  of decree  No. 61  exempts from  the
penalty  of  amputation  only those  persons who  have  served two  years in
custody or  detention; presumably, those having  served less  than two years
will   be  subject   to  amputation,  which  normally   is  applicable  upon
conviction.  In  addition, since  paragraph VIII.3 effectively exempts  from
amputation of the auricle of the ear only  persons who have given themselves
up  "repentantly", presumably those  who refuse  to make  such a declaration
will still suffer the inhuman and degrading punishment.

16.  The most  important context for analysing the recent amnesty decrees is
that of the  overall legal and  political order  prevailing in Iraq.   It is
precisely  the  existence  of several  repressive  Iraqi  laws  that  quells
freedom  of  thought,  information,  expression,  association  and  assembly
through fear of arrest, imprisonment and  other sanctions.  This  repression
will not be affected by  the latest amnesty decrees.   So long as  powers of
arbitrary  arrest,  detention  and  imprisonment  exist,  "amnesties"   will
inspire little confidence.  This is  especially so for "political" offences,
while decrees  such as No.  840 of 4 November 1986  continue to make critics
and  insulters of  the President,  the Baath  Party and the  institutions of
government subject to the death  penalty and Baath Party members are granted
impunity for any  harm done to property  or persons (including  death) while
pursuing opponents  of the Government.  Simply, while there  is no effective
rule  of law in Iraq, there  will be little confidence in the reliability of
"amnesty" decrees.

17.   It  is  for  this reason  that the  Special Rapporteur  has previously
called for the abrogation of such  repressive laws as those establishing the
offence of "insulting"  the leadership  and institutions  of government  and
the Baath  Party, the  granting of  impunity for  those causing harm  to the
person  of  property  of  "subversives",  "saboteurs"  and  other  perceived
opponents of the  Government or the Baath  Party and the inhuman punishments
of amputation  and  disfigurement  examined  by the  Special  Rapporteur  in
previous reports (see in particular, E/CN.4/1995/56).


III.  THE MISSION TO KUWAIT

      A.  The fate of persons missing as a result of
          the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait

18.  As  noted in paragraph 4 above, two  staff members from the Centre  for
Human  Rights,  acting  as  human  rights   monitors  in  the  framework  of
Commission resolution  1995/76, undertook a  visit to  Kuwait from 22  to 30
June  1995.   During their  stay  in Kuwait,  the monitors  met with  a wide
variety  of  persons of  special  relevance  to  the  continuing problem  of
Kuwaiti and third-country nationals who  disappeared during or subsequent to
their alleged arrest and detention by  Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait between
2  August  1990  and  26  February  1991.    Among  those  interviewed  were
representatives of  the Kuwaiti National  Committee for Missing and Prisoner
of War Affairs and family members of the Kuwaitis who had disappeared.

19.  The fate  of Kuwaitis and other  persons who disappeared  during Iraq's
occupation of Kuwait forms  part of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as
a  result of  paragraph 4  of  Commission  resolutions 1992/71  and 1993/74,
paragraph 5 of Commission resolution 1994/74  and paragraph 3 of  Commission
resolution 1995/76.  The  Special Rapporteur briefly  addressed this  aspect
of the mandate in  two reports to the Commission (E/CN.4/1993/45, para.  49,
and E/CN.4/1994/58,  para. 32)  and more extensively  in his last  report to
the General Assembly (A/49/651, paras. 12-33 and 99).

20.  As previously  stated by the Special  Rapporteur (see A/49/651,  paras.
31 and 32), there  can be no  doubt that many persons disappeared  during or
subsequent  to  the  Iraqi  occupation  of  Kuwait.    In  so  far  as   the
disappearances occurred during  the Iraqi  occupation of  Kuwait, there  can
also be no doubt of  the general responsibility of  Iraq under international
law  for the  fate  of these  persons and  the  effects on  their  families.
Detailed testimonies  and other corroborative  evidence further  establishes
the specific responsibility of Iraqi forces  and authorities in relation  to
many individual cases.  However, from the point of view of the relations  of
those who disappeared, the preoccupying question is the present  whereabouts
of their loved ones:  are these persons  still detained in Iraq, as has been
claimed, or,  in the event that  they have been  released or have  perished,
what details  can be communicated to  the distraught  families regarding the
release or death of former detainees?

21.   Certainly,  the human  tragedy of  this continuing  matter is enormous
both in terms of  any remaining detainees who  are no doubt suffering untold
emotional anguish  and possibly enduring physical  hardship and  in terms of
the  relatives  of the  missing  persons  who  are  suffering severe  mental
distress   because  they  are  without  knowledge  of  the  whereabouts  and
condition of their  loved ones.  The relatives  of the missing persons  also
report  that they are  regularly subjected  to extortion  attempts that play
upon their desires to learn  anything of those missing.  As a result of  the
never-ending  uncertainty and  the  unresolvable pain  and  depression,  the
social lives,  employment performance and  personal relationships of  family
members are all damaged.

22.  In  accordance with  the applicable  rules of  international law,  Iraq
must account for those who were arrested by its forces.   If Iraq were still
to be holding prisoners of war (POWs) and civilian internees, a premise  the
Iraqi  authorities deny,  several  obligations  arising under  international

humanitarian law and international human rights law would be breached.

23.   In  addition,  the Government  of Iraq  has, to  the knowledge  of the
Special Rapporteur,  failed to demonstrate a  genuine concern  for those who
are still missing  in so far  as it  has yet to  participate fully and in  a
cooperative  spirit  with  both Governments  and  international humanitarian
organizations that are seeking  to resolve the  cases on behalf of the  next
of kin.  In particular,  the Government of Iraq failed  for a period  of two
years even  to attend the meetings  of the  Tripartite Committee established
pursuant   to  the  cease-fire  agreement  that  ended  the  armed  conflict
following the liberation of Kuwait.

24.   However,  as  from  July 1994,  the  Government  of Iraq  renewed  its
participation in the framework  of the Tripartite Committee,  as well as  in
the framework  of  a Technical  Subcommittee  that  was established  by  the
Tripartite  Committee on 8 December  1994, and has undertaken to conduct the
detailed technical work relating to investigations and inquiries  concerning
the missing  persons.  As  of 7 April  1995, the  Technical Subcommittee had
processed  168  dossiers, on  which  the  Government  of  Iraq had  provided
preliminary  replies  based  on  intermediate  investigations  regarding  70
individual files.   In addition,  the mortal remains  of one missing  person
were repatriated to the Kuwaiti authorities.

25.   For  almost  all  cases to  which the  Government of  Iraq has  so far
responded,  it is reported  to have  provided evasive  replies regarding the
individual  files.  Indeed,  based  upon  information  received  during  the
mission,  despite the  Iraqi authorities  admitting to  having arrested  and
detained some of the  missing Kuwaitis, the Government  of Iraq claims to be
ignorant of the  specifically relevant authority  or military unit operating
at the time  and place where the  person disappeared; the  Government claims
that the  files that could  have been useful  to determine the  fate of  the
missing persons were destroyed during the  retreat of the Iraqi  authorities
from Kuwait  and that many of  these units were subsequently dissolved, with
many of their members  having retired from the armed forces.  Therefore, the
Government  of Iraq maintains,  upon information  collected verbally  by the
responsible officers after the 1991 uprising in the  south of Iraq, that the
detainees  escaped  by  exploiting  the  confusion  that  prevailed  in  the
southern governorates at the time.

26.    Based  upon  information  received  by  the  Special  Rapporteur, the
specific  military units  responsible in  the  areas  where the  arrests and
disappearances occurred  have now resorted to pro forma responses, admitting
only to  having arrested and  detained some of  the still missing  Kuwaitis.
Some  have also  participated in  initial  investigations  into some  of the
cases.

27.  Noting  that the Government of Iraq is showing to a  certain extent its
willingness at long last to collaborate  with the Tripartite Committee,  the
Special Rapporteur  stresses that  Iraq is  under an  obligation to  provide
substantive replies on  the individual files  without further delay.   It is
to be  recalled in  this connection  that, in  its resolution  46/135 of  17
December 1991,  the  General Assembly  called  upon  Iraq in  the  following
specific terms to cooperate in the search for those who had disappeared:

  "4.   ... to provide  information on all Kuwaiti  persons and thirdcountry
nationals deported from Kuwait  between 2 August  1990 and 26 February  1991
who may still be detained and ... to release these persons without delay;

  "5.   ...  to provide  ...  detailed information  on persons  arrested  in
Kuwait between  2 August 1990 and 26  February 1991 who may have died during
or after that period  while in detention, as  well as on the  site of  their
graves;

  "6.   ... to search for  the persons still  missing and  to cooperate with
international  humanitarian   organizations,  such   as  the   International
Committee of the Red Cross, in this regard;

  "7.    ...  to  cooperate  and   facilitate  the  work  of   international
humanitarian organizations, notably  the International Committee of the  Red
Cross,  in  their  search  for  and  eventual  repatriation  of  Kuwaiti and
thirdcountry national detainees and missing persons."

28.     Notwithstanding  Iraq's  recent   but  limited  steps  towards  full
cooperation  in this  tragic  matter,  the Special  Rapporteur cannot  avoid
noting that Iraq failed:

  (a)   To  inform families  about the  whereabouts of  persons arrested  in
Kuwait, or to give arrested persons the right to contact their families;

  (b)   To provide  information about  death sentences  imposed on  POWs and
civilian detainees, as required by articles 101 and 107 of the Third  Geneva
Convention of 12 August  1949 and articles 74  and 75 of  the Fourth  Geneva
Convention of 12 August 1949;

  (c)  To issue death  certificates for deceased POWs and civilian internees
and to provide information about graves in  accordance with articles 120 and
121 of the  Third Geneva Convention of  12 August 1949  and articles  129 to
131 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949;
  To comply at least with this, the  Government of Iraq faces a heavy burden
of doing everything  within its powers to explain  the fate of the  hundreds
of persons who still  remain missing as a  result of its  illegal occupation
of Kuwait.


B.  Information regarding other violations of human rights

29.  Other information (mainly  testimonies from asylum-seekers) received in
Kuwait  by the  monitors assisting  the  Special  Rapporteur paints  an even
grimmer picture  of life  in southern Iraq.   Testimonies  focused upon  the
climate of  oppression and  the dire  economic and social  situation in  the
south of  the country.   The  second of  these issues  will be  taken up  in
section V below.

30.   According to testimonies received,  penal amputations  continued to be
enforced in southern Iraq in the spring and early  summer of 1995.  Military
deserters who had escaped to Kuwait stated that  they saw many soldiers with
their ears cut  off.  Two  young men  who were interviewed had  suffered the
penalties themselves:  one  had both his ears entirely amputated in a  rough
fashion and had  a "-" sign  scar in  the middle of  his forehead, which  he
stated was  the  result  of a  surgical  cut  applied  at the  time  of  the
amputation of his ears, while  the other young man had a large and dark  "_"
sign branded between his  eyebrows and had  large inflamed scars running  up
and  down his arms and on his body from battery acid that had been poured on
him by  military officers  as an alternative  to cutting off  his ears;  the
officers had  also fractured the  skull of the  second soldier  with a metal
pipe,  resulting in  a speech  impediment and recurring  dizzy spells.   The
deserter who  had had  both his ears  amputated testified that  he had  been
given a  general anaesthetic in  a prison  hospital where the  operation was
performed and  where he had remained  without medicine  for weeks afterward;
his bandages were changed  only every two weeks.  He further testified  that
he  was  among  several  hundreds  of  others  who  had  been  brought  from
throughout  Amarah,  Nassiriyah and  Basrah governorates  in  order to  have
their ears  cut off in the  prison hospital.   While some were  said also to
receive the  surgical cut  across the  forehead as  had the  witness, others
were  said to have been branded on the forehead with an "X".  Many were said
to have  acquired  infections, received  no  treatment  and died.    Another
soldier  who claimed  to have  had access to  military detention  centres as
part of  his work testified to having  seen at least  30 soldiers in various
places who had had their  ears cut off, stating that they were bandaged  and
bleeding,  with  some  having  acquired  infections  for  which  they   were
prohibited  treatment and for which,  in any event, there  were no medicines
available.   These testimonies were  supported by that  of a medical  doctor
who  had fled from Basrah, where  he confirmed that  many young men had been

brought  to the hospitals to have their ears cut off:  one ear for the first
desertion, both ears  for a second  offence, and  branding of the  foreheads
for all.    While anaesthetics  were used  for  the  operations, which  were
described  as  an  irregular  cut  followed  by   a  suture,  post-operative
treatment  was forbidden;  one victim was  said to have  died of septicemia.
For the brandings,  the technique employed was  a cauterized "-" sign across
the forehead.   The doctor stated that he had heard  from other doctors that
a total  of 150 amputations were performed in January 1995.  The doctor also
confirmed that  they were forced to perform the operations  or receive heavy
penalties  for  refusal:   one  doctor  who  refused  was  arrested  by  the
Mukhabarat for two days and returned compliant, while another disappeared.

31.   The  testimonies  concerning  amputations  confirm  what  the  Special
Rapporteur  had  reported  in  his  last  report  to  the  General  Assembly
(A/49/651, paras. 44-71  and 99 (j)).   They also demonstrate the  arbitrary
and irregular fashion in which the barbaric decrees have been implemented.

32.   Other  testimonies indicated  that  arbitrary arrests  and  detentions
remained  widespread in  southern Iraq.   Several witnesses  testified that,
upon  arrest, they  had been  beaten and  badly mistreated.    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  of security and  Baath Party  officials in the  daily lives of
the  citizenry.  Bribery  and corruption  were also said to  be rife.  There
was said to be no rule of law.

33.  The witnesses  were unanimous that the  food and health  situation, and
the  socio-economic  situation in  general,  had  become precarious.    Most
stated  that they  were preoccupied  in their  daily lives  with achieving a
subsistence-level  existence.    The  medical  doctor  who  was  interviewed
confirmed that protein and calorie deficiencies were  common among children,
as were  cases of  anaemia and related  diseases.  The  doctor lamented  the
unavailability  of many medicines  and the  emergence of  a flourishing, but
very expensive,  black market  for drugs.  Although the  doctor had seen  no
deaths as  a result  of malnutrition,  he  stressed that  the situation  was
deteriorating day by day prior to his departure in the spring.

34.   In general  terms, one  witness described  Iraq as  "one huge  prison"
where all within huddled in fear.  Another  witness pleaded that the  United
Nations should  ignore the Government  of Iraq  and "take food  and medicine
directly to the people".  All felt that Iraqi society was shattered.


IV.  THE MISSION TO LEBANON

35.  The testimonies  received in Lebanon were  mainly from refugees who had
recently fled  from the  central part of Iraq.   All gave testimony  about a
general state of repression and fear throughout Iraq and all indicated  that
the overall socio-economic situation  was poor, with  dire consequences  for
the most vulnerable in terms of access to food and health care.

36.    In general,  life was  said to  be harsh  and expensive.   Government
ration  cards were said  to be  good for  only 10 days  in early  1995.  Two
witnesses claimed to have seen food aid from  the United Nations being  sold
on the  black market;  one witness testified  to having seen  United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and  World Food Programme (WFP) trucks in Najaf and
Karbala  offloading at government  distribution points  only to  see some of
the food appear on  the black market  later.  Expired goods (including  milk
and medications) were also said to be distributed through the Government  of
Iraq  with the Government  accusing the United Nations  of dumping the goods
on a desperate people.

 37.  Two witnesses  testified to having seen army  deserters who had had an
ear cut  off and had  been branded  on the  forehead.   The desertions  were
blamed on the extremely  low pay for conscripted soldiers, which had  forced
many to desert in  order to help  their families to survive.  Now  many have

been disfigured,  while others  are said  to have  died as  a result  of the
initial traumas or subsequent untreated infections.   Those who survive  are
said to  hide  in  shame.   One witness  said that  some  victims and  their
families had  sought revenge for  the disfigurements by  trying to kill  the
doctors  and  Baath  Party  officials  who  had  performed  or  ordered  the
amputations;  several  such incidents  were  said  to  have  taken place  in
Nassiriyah.

38.  Many witnesses testified about the general  breakdown in law and order:
bribery,  corruption  and  thievery  were  said  to  be  the  main problems.
Matters of corruption ranged  from petty to  issues of life and death.   One
witness  stated that  "even if  you kill  someone,  you  can still  buy your
freedom  by  paying the  judge".    Another  witness  testified that  higher
education  had become  completely corrupt  with  professors, who  were  very
poor, readily accepting bribes  to change grades, to give out the  questions
to examinations in  advance or  just to grant a  passing grade to a  student
who had  already answered all the  questions correctly.  Admissions are said
to be controlled by the Baath Party and  the children of important Baathists
are  said  to  get  privileged entrances  and  advancements  throughout  the
system:    easier  admissions,  easier  passes  and better  grades.  Another
witness stated  that the problem  of bribery had  reached such  a stage that
those who were to  be executed could buy their freedom from the executioner,
but then  someone else had to  be executed in their  stead to ensure that  a
body was  surrendered by the executioner  as per instructions.   The general
decay in order, parallelled  by an increase in corruption, has resulted in a
confused and thoroughly  arbitrary system where it is  said to be a  regular
occurrence that the wrong people are  arrested, detained, tortured and  even
executed - without apology or consequence.

39.  Arbitrary arrests were said still to  be common throughout the country,
with people still being  taken directly from their homes.  The Mukhabarat is
said to be still  preoccupied with trying to find everyone who  participated
in the March-April 1991 uprisings.

40.  Upon  arrest, cruel tortures and gross  mistreatment still occur.   Two
witnesses gave testimony, corroborated by their own scars and  disabilities,
about terrible tortures that  they suffered over long  periods of time.  One
witness  testified  that, during  three  and  one  half  years of  arbitrary
detention (first in  the General Directorate of Security in Baghdad and then
in  Radwaniyah prison) prior to his  release in the  spring of last year, he
was regularly hanged from his hands, which were bound behind his back,  with
someone pulling  down on his  body so that  his rotator  cups were destroyed
and  he can now  rotate his arms  backwards over his  head but  he can carry
hardly any weight.   In addition, he was  badly beaten on his back,  causing
some of  his  vertebrae  to  become displaced  and  resulting in  a  serious
curvature of the  spine:  he is now  deeply bowed when  he stands.  Further,
he was forced on several occasions  to sit on a bottle for minutes at a time
causing bleeding and rectal damage that  required medical treatment and,  on
one occasion, he suffered  electric shocks to his  tongue and genitals.  The
second witness claimed  to have been imprisoned and brutally tortured over a
12-year period  in  the Mukhabarat  office in  Baghdad, Fadhliyah  detention
centre and Badush prison  in Mosul.  Among the astounding number and variety
of tortures he claims to have suffered are  the following:  he was hanged by
his feet from a rotating fan and beaten  with cables by Mukhabarat officers;
he  was forced  to sit  on bottles of  varying sizes for  various periods of
time; he was once made to  stand in a large tub of filthy waste water up  to
his nose  so he could  hardly breath; he  was once  sprinkled with sulphuric
acid  from a syringe during an interrogation;  during another interrogation,
he had a heavy acidic  oil poured on one arm;  he was administered  electric
shocks on different occasions, once while sitting in  a chair with his  feet
in a  shallow bucket of  water, causing  his feet  to inflame and  making it
difficult to walk; he once  had a small leather strap tied around his  penis
to prevent  him from  urinating while,  at the same  time, he was  forced to
drink large  quantities of sugared  water; he  was several  times forced  to
crouch  for long  periods in a  tiny box; and  he was raped  numerous times.
Having been sentenced to life imprisonment  for espionage and membership  in

the Islamic movement, the  witness claims to  have been liberated during  an
uprising by the al-Jabouri  clan in Mosul in 1994 and subsequently fled  the
country.   The witness  bears numerous  scars and  suffers disabilities that
are consistent with his testimony.


V.  THE RIGHTS TO FOOD AND HEALTH

41.   The  Special Rapporteur  has 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.  52-55 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)-(c) and 58 (a)-(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;  and E/CN.4/1995/56, paras.  44-47, 54, 67  (m) and 68
(c)).  Since  his initial appointment  in June 1991, the  Special Rapporteur
has  observed the  constantly  deteriorating situation  of  the  population.
This dire situation has  met with 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.

42.  Since the  Special Rapporteur's last report to the Commission on  Human
Rights (E/CN.4/1995/56), the Security Council adopted resolution 986  (1995)
of  14 April 1995, which affords  Iraq the opportunity of selling  oil up to
the amount of US$ 1  billion every 90 days, on  a renewable basis,  in order
to purchase essential food and  medical supplies for  humanitarian purposes.
As was  the  case with  the  "food-for-oil"  formula presented  pursuant  to
Security Council  resolutions 706 (1991) and  712 (1991),  the Government of
Iraq has rejected the offer made in resolution  986 (1995), despite the fact
that the  total available annual sale would be US$ 4 billion, i.e. about one
quarter of  Iraq's total export sales  prior to its  invasion of Kuwait  and
the  imposition of United  Nations economic  sanctions.   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.   It is  interesting  to note  that,
immediately  after  Security Council  resolution  986  (1995)  was  adopted,
market   prices  of   essential   food  and   other   commodities   improved
significantly and the free market value of the United  States dollar dropped
by  50 per cent against  the Iraqi dinar  from ID  1,200 to ID 600.   Such a
sustained drop in prices would  have had the effect of making more food  and
other essential commodities available  to those in need.   However, the drop
in  prices  and  exchange  rates  was  short  lived  following  the negative
response  from the Government  and the  appearance of  several Ministers and
other top officials  on television  who categorically  decried and  rejected
resolution 986  (1995) on unspecified  grounds of "sovereignty  infringement
and interference in  the internal affairs  of Iraq".  Senior  officials also
argued that the new  initiative was designed to  prolong the sanctions  - an
assertion  that flies in  the face of the fact that  it is for Iraq alone to
comply  fully with the  terms of  the relevant  Security Council resolutions
and end the sanctions regime forthwith.

43.   As a  consequence of  the Government  of Iraq's  intransigence on  the
"foodfor-oil" formula, the  economic situation continued to deteriorate  and
prices of  essential  food items  and  basic  living commodities  fell  even
further beyond the reach of  a large part of the  population.  According  to
the  Department  of  Humanitarian  Affairs  mid-term review  of  the  United
Nations  consolidated inter-agency  humanitarian  cooperation  programme for
Iraq,  dated 21  September 1995,  in the  last six  months "the humanitarian
situation  deteriorated  in  all  sectors,  particularly  in  the  areas  of
nutrition and  health. Living conditions remain  precarious for  at least an
estimated  4 million  persons".   Essential  food  prices have  continued to
escalate drastically,  especially after the release  of the  last reports of

the  United Nations Special  Commission monitoring the dismantling of Iraq's
nuclear, chemical and  biological capacities;  prices of wheat flour,  rice,
vegetable oil and  sugar increased  between 30 and 50  per cent on the  free
market.  For  example, the price of vegetable  oil jumped from  ID 800 to ID
1,200 per  kilogram, the increase accounting  alone for 15  per cent of  the
monthly salary of  an average government employee.  These large increases in
the  prices of  food  commodities  must also  be viewed  in relation  to the
oppressive 616  per cent increase in  the central  and southern governorates
in 1994,  as reported by  the Department  of Humanitarian  Affairs (see  DHA
News special  edition, "1994 in  review", p. 111).   At the  same time,  the
Department  of Humanitarian  Affairs reported  in the  same mid-term review,
that  the "purchasing  power  of  the  population has  deteriorated  further
because of the continued  depreciation of the Iraqi  dinar from 1,000 to the
dollar  in April to 2,000 ID  in September 1995"  such that the "salaries of
civil  servants  (averaging  ID  5,000  per   month  after  50-70  per  cent
increments  in August  1995) are inadequate  for the purchase  of basic food
commodities".

44.   The  Government has  continued  distribution  of its  subsidized  food
basket at reduced levels for four essential food items,  namely wheat flour,
rice, vegetable  oil and sugar.  In  October 1994, the basket was reduced by
37 per cent in terms  of calorie intake, with the  shortfall of over  50 per
cent remaining  unbridgeable for  a large  percentage of  the population  in
view of the  prohibitive food prices  on the  free market.   This  situation
prevailed until just recently when, in  celebration of his "endorsement"  as
President in  the national  referendum held  on 15  October 1995,  President
Saddam Hussein was reported to have  increased the rations.  It is not clear
how long this  celebratory increase will continue.   Prior to it, government
rations met only  30 per cent of people's  food needs with the Department of
Humanitarian Affairs  reporting that "an  FAO-led crop  and nutrition status
assessment mission confirmed that  the situation in  Iraq was  demonstrating
pre-famine conditions".

45.  The economic  hardship affecting the population  is being manifested in
various ways.   More and more  families have  been cramming roadways  around
Baghdad  and other cities  to sell  personal belongings,  furniture and even
parts  of their homes  (e.g. doors,  windows and cement blocks)  in order to
buy food.  Child  beggars and small-time traders are  now a common  sight in
the capital and  prostitution is said  to be  rising all  over the  country.
Media reports  also point  to a  flourishing trade  in human  organs as  the
desperate  line up  to sell  a kidney  in order  to help  their  families to
survive.

46.   Although the  number of privileged  groups and persons  appears to  be
declining, certain  groups remain privileged by  comparison to others,  e.g.
highranking 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  more importantly in the  fact
that 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.  Of
course, this  is to say nothing  of the bribes  and "gifts" that  government
and  Baath   Party  officials  may  obtain   by  virtue   of  the  important
administrative  positions to  which 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.

47.   It is also evident that there is discrimination  within the country on
a  regional basis.   The central  cities of Iraq,  especially Tikrit, Samara
and parts  of Baghdad, continue to  enjoy preferred  distribution of limited
resources;  while  the  infrastructure  (including  water  purification  and
sewage  systems) of Baghdad  was rebuilt  almost immediately  after the war,
that  of the southern cities has continued to lag  far behind.  For example,
according  to  a survey  conducted  by  government  agencies  with the  full
support of UNICEF in  April 1995 and  released in July 1995, 50 per  cent of

the rural population in  the central/southern part of Iraq have no access to
potable water supplies.  More distressingly,  the same survey found  that 90
per cent of the rural population in the  southern governorate of Thiqar  had
no access to potable  water supplies.  An  erratic electric power supply and
a  shortage of  water  has had  a negative  impact  on public  health,  with
adverse effects  on vulnerable groups,  especially children. One hospital in
Najaf  was found  without water  for three  consecutive days.   In addition,
commodity prices in  the southern governorates are  much higher than  in the
central governorates, owing to the deteriorating  modes of transport and the
cost of distribution.   In the northern governorate  of Dohuk, which was cut
off from the national  power grid in  August 1993 and had been  receiving 12
MW of power per  day from Turkey over  the past few months,  there has  been
almost  no  electricity since  23  June  when,  for  technical reasons,  the
Turkish source of power  was also cut off.   The resulting  non-availability
of power during  the summer months created  enormous problems in the  health
and  water  sectors. According  to the  DHA News  special edition,  "1994 in
review"  (p.   112),  severe   shortages  of   electricity  also   "prompted
significant movement of  people, placing greater strain on the  humanitarian
programme" last year.

48.    Among the  related  health  problems are  the  increasing  levels  of
contaminated  water  as  recorded  by  the  ongoing  UNICEF-sponsored  water
quality control programme.   As a result, the number of cases of  waterborne
and diarrhoeal  disease was  seen to  increase.   Initial investigations  by
UNICEF  had indicated that water was not being  chlorinated as required, and
subsequent follow-up revealed that UNICEF's chlorine  powder had been put on
sale  in the market  for domestic  use -available  in well-designed, locally
printed packets and  tins.  This increase in corruption affecting the health
and  well-being  of  the  population derives  from  the  continuing economic
pressures  and the  inability of  the authorities  to  ensure proper  use of
humanitarian assistance.

49.   In the face  of the continuing  deterioration of  the food  and health
situation  in  Iraq  in the  last year,  to say  nothing  of other  forms of
repression, many Iraqis sought to travel  abroad to obtain food, health care
or refuge.  In response,  the Government increased by 150 per cent the  exit
tax on all Iraqis  travelling abroad; the  fee was increased from ID  40,000
to  ID  100,000  (i.e. almost  two  years'  pay for  an  average  government
employee).  In addition, skilled persons  such as engineers, architects  and
doctors are required to  post a guarantee of  return in the amount  of ID  1
million in  the form  of cash  in a bank  account or  fixed property.   This
prohibitive exit tax forces many people to remain  in Iraq to the  detriment
of their health and well-being.

50.  Beyond the  Government of Iraq's refusal  to cooperate with  the United
Nations  according to Security Council resolution 986 (1995), which proposes
an increased  sale of "oil for  food", beyond  the Government's restrictions
on access  to food and health in certain parts of the country and beyond the
severe  restrictions on exit  from the  country, the  Special Rapporteur has
received  credible  allegations  that  Iraqi  forces  have  continued  their
attacks on  the farming  communities (with  destruction of  their crops  and
livestock) located along the internal frontier  with the region of  northern
Iraq, from  which  the  Government  withdrew  its  administration  in  1991.
Similar  allegations have  been  received concerning  some  attacks  against
farmers in the south  of the country, resulting  in the destruction of wheat
and  barley  crops and  livestock.    These  attacks  negatively affect  the
internal food resources available for the rest of the population.

51.   According to the Department  of Humanitarian  Affair's mid-term review
and  the assessment mission of  the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United  Nations  (FAO),  both   referred  to  above,  Iraq's  "overall  food
requirements" in 1995/96 amount  to "about US$ 2.7 billion".  To keep  alive
2.15 million of the most vulnerable people through  1996, a WFP News  Update
of 26 September 1995 states that US$ 122.5 million  is required.  An earlier
United Nations consolidated inter-agency humanitarian cooperation  programme
for Iraq appealed for a total  of US$ 135 million for  the current six-month

period (i.e. 1 October  1995-31 March 1996).   The Special Rapporteur cannot
help but  underscore that  the stated  amounts are  far below  the resources
available through  Security Council resolution  986 (1995),  even should the
Government of Iraq  finally take advantage of  the opportunity to sell  some
oil for the good  of the Iraqi people.   Indeed, it is  entirely within  the
means of the Government of  Iraq to respond immediately to the dire food and
health needs of the  people of Iraq either  through full compliance with the
Security Council  resolutions establishing the  sanctions or by  cooperation
with the United Nations pursuant to resolution 986 (1995).


VI.  THE REFERENDUM OF 15 OCTOBER 1995

52.   On 15  October 1995,  a national  referendum was  held in Iraq  on the
question:   "Are you  in  favour of  Saddam  Hussein  assuming the  post  of
President of the  Republic of Iraq?"  In order to analyse and understand the
process  and  significance  of  the  referendum   in  terms  of   applicable
international  human rights  standards,  it  is necessary  to  consider  the
political  context in which  the referendum was  held.   In this connection,
the  Special  Rapporteur refers  to  his  previous  comments  on the  rights
pertaining to democratic  governance in Iraq (E/CN.4/1994/58, paras.  80-86)
and to  the structure  and abuse  of power in  the country  (E/CN.4/1994/58,
paras. 159-184).

53.   The applicable international  standards by which  the 15  October 1995
referendum is to be  assessed are those contained principally in article  21
of  the  Universal  Declaration  of Human  Rights  and  article  25  of  the
International Covenant on  Civil and  Political Rights, to  which Iraq is  a
party.  Both  article 21 of the Universal  Declaration and article 25 of the
Covenant stress the free expression of the will  of the people as the  basis
for determining the legitimate representatives of  the people.  However, for
the  will of  the people  to be  freely formed  and expressed,  a variety of
other  freedoms must be  respected, in  particular the  freedoms of thought,
conscience,  religion and  belief (as  guaranteed  under  article 18  of the
Covenant); opinion, expression and information (as guaranteed under  article
19  of the  Covenant);  assembly (as  guaranteed  under  article  21 of  the
Covenant);   and  association  (as   guaranteed  under  article  22  of  the
Covenant).   One  could  easily also  add other  freedoms  such as  that  of
movement  and respect for  personal integrity  and privacy  rights. In other
words, the possibility of non-manipulated and unimpaired  formation of views
and also the uninfluenced expression of those views must be guaranteed.

54.   As  the Special  Rapporteur has  previously commented  in detail  (see
E/CN.4/1994/58,  paras. 80-86  and  159-184), the  conditions  necessary  to
ensure that the free  will of  the people is the  basis of the authority  of
government do not exist  in the present  legal and political order of  Iraq.
More specifically, the almost total control  of information coupled with  an
all-pervasive and generalized fear among  the population of severe sanctions
for non-support of the prevailing order,  maintained through abuses of power
and facilitated by the  absence of the  rule of law in the  country, combine
to  undermine and distort apparent  expressions of the  "will of the people"
totally.  While  the Government purports that  the referendum of  15 October
1995  was "free",  the Special  Rapporteur does  not believe  that  the mere
mechanical conduct  of the formal  process of voting  can be  equated with a
genuine expression  of the will of the  people in Iraq.  This is because the
risk of being found in opposition to the President and the prevailing  order
is  literally life-threatening:   according  to Revolution  Command  Council
decree  No. 840 of  4 November  1986, any person insulting  the President of
the Republic,  the Revolution  Command Council, the  National Assembly,  the
Government or  the Baath  Party is  subject to  severe penalties,  including
death.   This  kind  of law  placed  in  the hands  of  a totally  intrusive
security apparatus, unconstrained by any  respect for the rule of law, means
that  virtually no citizen  would risk  demonstrating any  opposition to the
presidency  or Government -  or would do  so at  his mortal  peril.  Indeed,
this conclusion  is logical as long  as there exists  in Iraq such  coercive
forces as  decree No.  840 or  political attacks against,  and killings  of,

perceived oppositional leaders (see, e.g., A/49/651, paras. 72-88).

55.  Given the  prevailing legal and political  order in Iraq,  the national
referendum of 15 October  1995 confirmed nothing except the fact that,  even
amid heavy  economic pressures,  the government authorities  are capable  of
organizing such an  event in a  period of  only three  weeks and  achieving,
according to Iraqi television, a  99.96 per cent "approval" of the President
from  a staggering participation  rate of 99.467  per cent  of the 8,402,321
eligible voters.  Perhaps more noteworthy is the fact  that the overwhelming
results  were achieved  without the  President  once  having to  address the
people, appear in public,  make a single promise or in any sense campaign to
win  the approval  of  the  electorate.   The extremely  high  turn-out also
indicates  that the population  was already  fully identified  and listed by
voting  district at  the  time the  referendum  was  announced.   This  fact
underlines the degree to which the government authorities are in control  of
the movement and activities of people within the country.

56.   Regarding  the conduct  of  the referendum,  all eligible  voters were
reportedly sent a  two-part ballot  card prior  to the  referendum with  the
first part of the card requiring  detailed personal identification and  with
the second part, detachable from the  first, constituting the ballot itself.
At  the  polling  stations,  voters  were   to  present  to  the  referendum
administrators, in the presence of various  Iraqi security forces and  Baath
Party officials,  the first part of  the ballot card  together with official
papers  verifying their  identity  and eligibility,  whereupon  voters  were
directed  to complete  the second part of  the card in a  separate booth and
then to place  their completed ballots  into an  opaque sealed box.   In the
light of the overall political order  in Iraq, but also in  the light of the
specific process at the polling stations, it may be appreciated that few  if
any voters would  have felt  confident to  express their  views against  the
President  just  after having  formally  presented  themselves  to  security
forces and Baath Party officials.  Indeed, this may to large extent  explain
the remarkable fact that not one person voted  against the President in  the
governorates  of Karbala, Najaf,  Misan, Muthana  or Dhi Qar,  while only 18
voted against in Basrah, i.e. virtually  no one voted against  the President
in the southern governorates that had been the  scene of bloody uprisings in
April 1991.  However,  this seemingly paradoxical voting result may well  be
an  entirely  rational  result  based  on  fear  resulting  from  the  harsh
repression  of April  1991 and  its aftermath;  the population has  now been
totally subdued, made to conform, become economically  exhausted and totally
dependent.  In such circumstances, it would  appear natural to follow  one's
basic  survival instincts and  vote rationally  in favour  of the President,
although this "rational" vote could hardly be construed as an expression  of
the genuine will of the people.

57.  One important fact is  that the participating voters hardly represented
the totality  of the relevant Iraqi  population.  To  begin with, between  2
and 3 million eligible  voters in the northern governorates of Arbil,  Dohuk
and  Suleimaniyah  did  not  participate  because  the  central  authorities
withdrew  from the  region in  October 1991,  leaving it  to its  own  local
administration.   A second  group of  about 2  million Iraqis  also was  not
taken into account by  the referendum:  these  persons fled or were expelled
from Iraq and now live outside their country precisely  because of President
Saddam  Hussein and  his policies;  for the  most part,  these people  voted
against Saddam Hussein with their feet.

58.  In trying to understand the significance  of the referendum, which  is,
in fact,  the first  time in  Saddam Hussein's  presidency that he  has ever
gone directly  to the people,  the Special Rapporteur  notes the remarks  of
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq  Aziz, as reported by  the Iraqi News  Agency in
Baghdad on 17 October  1995, who stated  that the  referendum was part of  a
process  of   moving  "from  revolutionary  to  constitutional  legitimacy".
Without fully understanding  the notion of "revolutionary legitimacy" as  it
applies to a Government  that has prevailed for well over a quarter century,
the Special  Rapporteur understands  from Mr.  Aziz's remarks  that Iraq  is
certainly not  a State  with constitutional legitimacy,  i.e. Iraq is  not a

State under the  rule of law.   Certainly,  this admission by Mr.  Aziz only
confirms what the  Special Rapporteur has  observed since  he first took  up
his mandate:  in  so far as the prevailing legal and political order in Iraq
does not respect the rule of law, Iraq  is in violation of its international
obligations in the field of  human rights law.  However, in relation to  the
internal political regime  within Iraq,  it would appear  that the logic  of
the  present  "revolutionary legitimacy"  would  not  have  required  Saddam
Hussein to  relinquish  the presidency  even  if  he  had not  succeeded  in
obtaining an "endorsement" from the people:  he could  simply have continued
to lead the revolution as he had been doing so far.  If this means that  the
referendum had  no legal  implication within  the State, then  what was  the
motivation  for the  event?   By this  analysis,  it  would appear  that the
referendum had  little to do with  domestic legitimacy or  respect for human
rights (indeed, it was a mockery  of international human rights  standards),
but more  to do  with an  external political  agenda.   In the  view of  the
Special Rapporteur,  this  was the  significance  of  the referendum  of  15
October 1995.


VII.  CONCLUSIONS

59.   From his  analysis of  Revolution Command Council decrees  Nos. 61 and
64, the Special  Rapporteur concludes that their heavily conditioned  nature
greatly reduces  their possible value to  the addressees.   Moreover, in the
absence of  far greater  change in  the legal  and political order  of Iraq,
especially the abrogation of repressive laws  quelling freedoms of  thought,
information, expression,  association and assembly, decrees  Nos. 61 and  64
merit  virtually no  confidence.    In the  light  of the  legal system  and
political situation  that prevail  in Iraq,  and barring  the abrogation  of
existing  laws, the  effect of  the  so-called  "amnesty" decrees  cannot be
considered  a step  towards  liberalization  of  the  government  system  in
accordance with the obligations undertaken by the Government of Iraq.

60.  With respect  to the several  hundred persons who still remain  missing
as a result of the illegal  Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990 and 1991, the
Special Rapporteur  reaffirms his  opinion that  the Government  of Iraq  is
fully responsible for the  fate of these persons and must take every step to
assist  in  determining their  exact  whereabouts  or  fates.   The  Special
Rapporteur concludes  that the Government's  resumption of participation  in
the Tripartite Commission is  a positive step  that needs to be followed  up
by full, open and energetic cooperation  aimed at resolving the  outstanding
cases without any further delay.

61.   On the subject  of the amputation  decrees, which are  still in  force
within Iraq notwithstanding decrees Nos. 61  and 62, the Special  Rapporteur
concludes that they remain gross violations  of human rights and  an offence
to the  population as  a whole and,  in particular, to  the individuals  who
must endure their cruel and unusual punishments.

62.  With regard  to the rights  to food and health, the  Special Rapporteur
emphasizes  again the responsibility of  Iraq, pursuant to  article 2 of the
International Covenant  on Economic,  Social and  Cultural Rights,  to which
Iraq is  a party,  "to take  steps, individually  and through  international
assistance  and  cooperation, especially  economic  and  technical,  to  the
maximum of  its  available resources"  to  alleviate  the suffering  of  the
people.

63.   As concerns  the national  referendum of 15 October  1995, the Special
Rapporteur concludes that the result in no way reflects the genuine will  of
the people as required by article 21 of  the Universal Declaration of  Human
Rights and article  25 of the International  Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights.   To the contrary, in  the prevailing legal  and political order  in
Iraq  with  lifethreatening  laws  applicable  to  persons  expressing   any
opposition to  the Government, the conduct of the referendum  made a mockery
of relevant international human rights standards.

VIII.  RECOMMENDATIONS

64.  The Government of Iraq should immediately  abrogate any and all decrees
that prescribe cruel and unusual punishment or treatment.

65.  The Government of Iraq should immediately  take every necessary step to
abolish  the practices  of torture  and  cruel  and unusual  punishments and
treatment.

66.   The  Government  of  Iraq should  step  up  its cooperation  with  the
Tripartite  Commission aiming  to  discover the  whereabouts or  resolve the
fate  of  the  several  hundred  Kuwaitis  and  third-country  nationals who
disappeared under the illegal Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990 and 1991.

67.   The Government of  Iraq should immediately  cooperate with the  United
Nations to organize a  sale of oil  in order to purchase desperately  needed
humanitarian goods as authorized by Security Council resolution 986 (1995).

68.  The Government of Iraq should  immediately abrogate all laws penalizing
the  free  expression of  competing  views and  ideas  and  should  take all
necessary steps  to ensure that the genuine  will of the people is the basis
of the authority in the State.


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