Human Rights in Iraq

Eight years after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s odious regime which used genocide, chemical weapons and torture to repress the Iraqi people and destabilised the wider region with wars of aggression, the record of the elected authorities is infinitely better but mixed.
The news from Camp Ashraf is deeply disturbing while the recent human rights report from the US State Department details concerns on media freedoms, corruption, torture and other human rights abuses. Democracy in Iraq is fledgling and fragile and requires nurturing by a vibrant civil society as well as external political, cultural and commercial assistance.
Trade unions can unite workers whatever their religion, encourage greater participation by women and help nurture networks independent of the state to strengthen the foundations of democracy. The unions were crushed by Saddam and have re-emerged but are still saddled by old restrictions. In order to strengthen their role in the new, democratic Iraq, a new labour law, based on international best practice, is urgently needed. Whatever view people took on the intervention in 2003, these issues should unite all those concerned for the future of Iraq.
Gary Kent and John Slinger
Labour Friends of Iraq, London