Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kurdish officials criticized by U.N. on freedom of press and ‘honor killings’

In a report released Wednesday the United Nations criticized officials in Iraqi Kurdistan for their stance on several key human rights issues, Reuters reported the same day.

The U.N. denounced the harassment and arrest of journalists reporting on corruption and poor public services in the region. The report also expressed concern with long-term arbitrary detention without charge and allegations of ill-treatment and torture in some detention centers.

As far as freedom of press is concerned, Dindar Zebari, the Kurdistan Regional Government's U.N. coordinator, said the government is aware of violations but added that legal action is only taken against those who overstep the standards of journalism. An anonymous official said detained journalists are a threat to the stability of Kurdish society.

The report also denounced the frequent cases of “honor killings” – where young women are murdered by family members for suspected ‘immoral’ conduct – in the region. According to the report, roughly 40 cases of “honor killings” have been reported between January and March. Zebari stressed that the killings have tribal roots and are therefore very hard to prevent, but noted that the government is working to enact laws protecting women and children.

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