x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Speaker hits out at 'massive' human rights violations in Iraq

Osama Al Nujaifi said targeting the innocent, the use of violence against individuals and their property, and random arrests were all signs of poor human rights in Iraq.

BAGHDAD // A parliament speaker denounced the human-rights situation in Iraq yesterday, arguing that "massive" violations were "destroying" its democracy just as it grapples with a festering political row.

Osama Al Nujaifi said targeting the innocent, the use of violence against individuals and their property, and random arrests were all signs of poor human rights in Iraq.

The remarks from Mr Al 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 withdrew from the country.

"We find that human rights in Iraq have suffered massive violations," Mr Al Nujaifi said in a televised address. "Human rights have not been achieved amid the deteriorating of the political process in Iraq. It is clear the development of the nation is based on how much human rights are respected. Losing these rights is destroying democracy."

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

His remarks came amid a political deadlock, with authorities having charged the Sunni vice president, Tareq Al Hashemi, with running a death squad and the premier, Nuri Al Maliki, calling for the Sunni deputy premier, Saleh Al Mutlak, to be fired.

Mr Al Mutlak and Mr Al Hashemi's Iraqiya party has boycotted parliament and cabinet meetings.

Mr Al Hashemi, holed up in the autonomous Kurdish region, rejects the accusations, while Mr Al Mutlak has decried the government as a dictatorship. Legislators are due to consider Mr Al Maliki's request for Mr Al Mutlak to be fired on Tuesday.