Published on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 by the BBC News
Iraqis 'Suffer a Lack of Rights'
by Michael Voss
The United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, has told the UN Security Council that greater attention needs to be paid to human rights there.
In particular, he highlighted what he said was a lack of rights afforded to people detained by the authorities.
Mr Qazi briefed the Security Council in New York during its quarterly review of the situation in Iraq.
It was the first such meeting to take place since national elections were held in Iraq in January.
Mr Qazi told the Security Council of continuing reports of detentions without access to due process.
He also said that in some areas such as Falluja, the population remained deprived of the protection they were entitled to under international humanitarian law.
On the political front, Mr Qazi spoke of the importance of including those Sunni Arabs who did not participate in the elections in discussions over the next constitution.
He said the transitional government had a duty to involve all sectors of society in the political process, and the indications were that this is taking place.
The UN pulled all its staff out of Iraq following the bombing of its headquarters there almost two years ago.
Some UN personnel returned to Baghdad to help organise the elections, and it is now in the process of opening offices in Basra and Erbil.
So far, American troops have been responsible for their safety but a new separate specialist unit, including Georgian and Romanian troops, is being established.
On security issues, the acting US ambassador to the UN, Ann Paterson, said that one of the top priorities for the multinational force was to help build Iraq's own security forces, which she described as a work in progress.
© 2005 BBC News