American Forces Press Service
Oct. 6, 2009 - Iraqi Defense Minister Mohammed Abdul-Qader Jassim hosted a conference here yesterday to highlight Iraq's commitment to human rights. Senior Iraqi army officials, civilians, government employees, political leaders and women from Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights were on hand for Iraq's second human rights conference, as well as select members of the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, which is responsible for training and advising the defense ministry on human rights issues.
"After criminals are captured in Iraq, we must protect their dignity and provide them with clothes, food, medical care and other needs," the defense minister said. "We are doing our best to provide for prisoner needs."
Speakers at the conference highlighted Iraq's commitment to human rights. The common theme was that although many people feel sorry for the victims of terrorist crimes, those feelings can't lead to disregarding the rights of the accused. As Iraq moves toward a rule-of-law justice system and away from a confessions-based system, human rights issues will be more important than ever, they noted.
Eman Nagi, the defense ministry's human rights director, spoke about the need to educate all Iraqi citizens on human rights issues. She stressed that the laws need to be applied equally to all Iraqi citizens, and she called on legal institutions to protect the rights and dignity of all detainees.
Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani noted that human rights apply to all people.
"Human rights are applied by international and universal standards," Bolani said. "Iraq seeks to balance domestic and international human rights issues through institutions committed to professionalism."
He also said committees in the Iraqi Parliament are doing a good job of coordinating human rights issues. Bolani stressed the fact that 490 investigations into missing or dead detainees have been launched, and said Iraq takes detainee abuse seriously.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Richard Rowe, Iraqi Training and Advisor Mission director, expressed his pride in the way that Iraq has demonstrated its commitment to human rights and justice. He said the Iraqi constitution includes language about human rights, and added that every Iraqi soldier and policeman is trained to adhere to its principles.
(From a Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq news release.)