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News ::
Repression of the Iraqi People (english)
02 Mar 2003
Saddam Hussein's repression of the Iraqi people has not stopped.
He is draining the southern marshes, causing grave environmental damage and forcible relocation of civilians in an attempt to eliminate opposition to the regime.

He is murdering Shi'a clerics.

He is destroying villages and forcibly relocating people in both the north and the south and destroying villages in the south.

International human rights groups and others are gathering evidence and working to establish an international criminal court to try Saddam and his senior aides for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

He has used chemical weapons against his own people.

UNSC Resolution 688

In Resolution 688 (1991), the UN Security Council condemned the Government of Iraq's repression of the Iraqi civilian population, which it concluded threatened international peace and security in the region.

The Council demanded that Iraq immediately end this repression and allow immediate access by international humanitarian organizations to all those in need of assistance in all parts of Iraq.

Iraq has neither ended the repression of its civilian population nor allowed outside organizations access to help those in need. The government of Iraq uses military force to repress civilian populations throughout the country, resulting in the deaths of thousands and the destruction of entire villages.

Iraq has refused to allow the UN's Special Rapporteur for Human Rights to return to Iraq since his first visit in 1992. The government of Iraq has refused to allow the stationing of human rights monitors as required by the resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Commission on Human Rights. The regime expelled UN personnel and NGOs who, until 1992, ensured the delivery of humanitarian relief services throughout the country.

Iraqi authorities routinely practice extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions throughout those parts of the country still under regime control. The total number of prisoners believed to have been executed since autumn 1997 exceeds 2,500. This includes hundreds of arbitrary executions in the last months of 1998 at Abu Ghraib and Radwaniyah prisons near Baghdad.



In the 1970s and 1980s, the Iraqi regime destroyed over 3,000 Kurdish villages. The destruction of Kurdish and Turkomen homes is still going on in Iraqi-controlled areas of northern Iraq, as evidenced the destruction by Iraqi forces of civilian homes in the citadel of Kirkuk

In northern Iraq, the government is continuing its campaign of forcibly deporting Kurdish and Turkomen families to southern governorates. As a result of these forced deportations, approximately 900,000 citizens are internally displaced throughout Iraq. Local officials in the south have ordered the arrest of any official or citizen who provides employment, food or shelter to newly arriving Kurds.



Iraq's 1988-89 Anfal campaign subjected the Kurdish people in northern Iraq to the most widespread attack of chemical weapons ever used against a civilian population. The Iraqi military attacked a number of towns and villages in northern Iraq with chemical weapons. In the town of Halabja alone, an estimated 5,000 civilians were killed and more than 10,000 were injured (see Photo 5).


The scale and severity of Iraqi attacks on Shi'a civilians in the south of Iraq have been increasing steadily. The Human Rights Organization in Iraq (HROI) reports that 1,093 persons were arrested in June 1999 in Basrah alone. Tanks from the Hammourabi Republican Guards Division attacked the towns of Rumaitha and Khudur on June 26, after residents protested the systematic maldistribution of food and medicine to the detriment of the Shi'a. Iraqi troops killed fourteen villagers, arrested more than a hundred more, and destroyed forty homes. On June 29, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Resistance in Iraq reported that 160 homes in the Abul Khaseeb district near Basra were destroyed (see Photo 8).

In March 1999, the regime gunned down Grand Ayatollah al Sayyid Mohammad Sadiq al Sadr, the most senior Shi'a religious leader in Iraq. Since 1991, dozens of senior Shi'a clerics and hundreds of their followers have either been murdered or arrested by the authorities,and their whereabouts remain unknown.


In the southern marshes, government forces have burned houses and fields, demolished houses with bulldozers, and undertaken a deliberate campaign to drain and poison the marshes. Villages belonging to the al Juwaibiri, al Shumaish, al Musa and al Rahma tribes were entirely destroyed and the inhabitants forcibly expelled. Government troops expelled the population of other areas at gunpoint and also forced them to relocate by cutting off their water supply

War Crimes

The nature and magnitude of the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein and his regime since 1980 demand that all efforts be made to hold those individuals accountable for their crimes. We believe that Saddam Hussein and key members of his regime should be brought to justice for their past and current crimes.
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