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INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK OF MIDDLE EAST WATCH (english)
26 Mar 2003
IRAQ

The ruthlessness of the regime of Saddam Hussein has been long known but insufficiently documented, due to its brutal suppression of dissent, tight controls on journalists, and refusal to allow independent human rights organizations to investigate in the country.
During 1989, consultant David Korn compiled the first comprehensive human rights report on human rights in Iraq. Middle East Watch's requests to visit Iraq and meet with officials were met with transparent excuses and then silence. Nevertheless, Korn was able to gather telling evidence from interviews with scores of diplomats, journalists, and Iraqi exiles in the United States and Europe. His article, "Iraq's Criminal Credit Line," appeared in The New York Times, October 26.

Human Rights in Iraq, 235 pages, covers the suppression of dissent, torture, arbitrary arrests, disappearances, summary and political executions, mass expulsions, the use of chemical warfare against Iraq's Kurdish civilians, the forced resettlement of many thousands living in predominantly Kurdish areas, and violent attacks against Iraqi dissidents abroad. It was completed for release February 11, 1990, and will be issued as the first publication of a joint venture between Human Rights Watch and Yale University Press.

Middle East Watch also pressed the U.S. government to condition its relations with Iraq on improvements in human rights, urging a cutoff in the generous loan guarantees currently extended to Iraq. In the fall, Middle East Watch supported passage of an amendment by Senator Daniel Inouye to bar Export-Import Bank loan guarantees to Iraq and seven other countries. The legislation passed in November.

Representatives of Middle East Watch also met with State Department officials and recommended that they condemn Iraq's human rights record during the session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva in February 1990. Past U.S. support of efforts to censure Iraq for abuses has been only lukewarm.
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