Sunni leader slams `massive` Iraq rights problems

Last Updated: Monday, January 2, 2012 - 20:57

Baghdad: Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi slammed the human rights situation in Iraq on Monday, arguing that "massive" violations were destroying its democracy just as it grapples with a festering political row.

Osama al-Nujaifi said that targeting the innocent, the use of violence against individuals and their property, and random arrests were all signs of poor human rights in Iraq, and called for the government to stop blocking provincial bids
for increased autonomy from Baghdad.

The remarks from Nujaifi, a Sunni Arab, come amid a two-week standoff between the Shiite-led government and the speaker`s Sunni-backed Iraqiya party, shortly after US troops completed their withdrawal from the country.

"We find that human rights in Iraq have suffered massive violations," Nujaifi said in a televised address.

"Human rights have not been achieved amid the deteriorating of the political process in Iraq."

He continued: "It is clear that the development of the nation is based on how much human rights are respected. Losing these rights is destroying democracy."

Nujaifi pointed in particular to "violence against people and property, random detention, mistreatment and poor judicial processes targeting innocent people from different sects."

The speaker also called on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki`s government to stop stalling bids by multiple Sunni-majority provinces in Iraq`s north and west to obtain increased autonomy, as is allowed by the country`s
constitution.

"No Iraqi has the right to violate clear constitutional articles," Nujaifi said. "(The government must) respond to public opinion in every province that wants to establish a region, based on the willingness of their residents."

Salaheddin, Anbar and Diyala provinces have all made moves to obtain autonomy from the central government of the type enjoyed by Iraq`s northern Kurdish region.

His remarks came amid a political deadlock, with authorities having charged Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with running a death squad and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki calling for Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak to be fired.

Mutlak and Hashemi`s Iraqiya party has boycotted parliament and cabinet meetings. Hashemi, who is holed up in the autonomous Kurdish region, rejects the accusations, while Mutlak has decried the national unity government as a dictatorship.

Lawmakers are due to consider Maliki`s request for Mutlak to be fired tomorrow.

PTI



First Published: Monday, January 2, 2012 - 20:57

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