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IRIN Middle East | Middle East | MIDDLE EAST | MIDDLE EAST: MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 28 for 24-30 June 2005 | Other | Weekly
Sunday 25 December 2005
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MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 28 for 24-30 June 2005

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Key Humanitarian Developments in Iraq

Tuesday was the first anniversary of the return of sovereignty to Iraq following the US-led coalition invasion. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking to journalists on Monday, said he believed that continuing insecurity in Iraq would not be resolved through military means. He said that a political settlement was the only way to achieve any lasting peace and this would entail talks between all the parties involved, including the insurgents.

“I think everybody agrees that it is essential that one makes the process in Iraq as inclusive and participatory as possible and also try to reconcile the Iraqis,” he said. “I think reconciliation and participation is part of the process, so if one can pull as many people in, it is important, because there is no military solution. You have to, as such, you need to bring in everyone,” he continued.

Annan responded when pressed on whether or not he would expect US forces to attend talks with insurgents.

"I think it's part of the process to try and resolve this politically and I think to try to explain to everyone in Iraq what they have to gain by coming into the process. So I have no difficulties with that. I think it is the correct thing to do."

Annan met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. After their meeting a statement was issued, saying their discussions had included the situation in Iraq. Annan had described to Rice the work of the UN electoral and constitutional teams in Iraq at their meeting.

"They agreed on the need to reach out to the Sunni community and that closer consultation between the United Nations and the United States would be useful and necessary," the UN spokesman said.

Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Hamud-Bidan said on Tuesday that his country wants to reduce the proportion of its oil revenues paid to the United Nations to compensate for damage caused by the Gulf War, according to an AFP report. An anonymous source told AFP that Hamud-Bidan had indicated to the regular meeting of the UN Compensation Commission's Governing Council in Geneva that it was considering a reduction from the current five percent to a figure of one percent.

The Governing Council holds quarterly meetings to examine claims and manage compensation payments to individuals, companies or governments following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the Gulf War in 1991.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani, opened a three-day workshop in the Jordanian capital, Amman, attended by some 30 employees of NGOs involved in Iraqi human rights. The meeting aimed to help develop their work on several fronts: to promote their participation in advocacy work and human rights promotion at national, regional and international levels; to help to develop strategies for dealing with past, current and future human rights violations; to help build a network for sharing information and developing collaboration.

The workshop was organised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to enable them to work as a more efficient and cohesive force in Iraq.

Iraq hopes to bolster its sovereignty by putting the country's official domain name on the internet within weeks, according to National Communications and Media Commission chief Siyamend Othman, speaking to the Jordanian news agency Petra-JNA in Amman.

"We hope to announce very soon the return of Iraq's domain name '.iq' back on the internet," Othman said. "We are at the final stages of negotiations for the return of '.iq' and we are quite optimistic that we can do so in the coming weeks."

Othman was attending an Iraq Development Programme (IDP) sponsored meeting. The London-based IDP seeks to promote and facilitate commercial development within Iraq, generate investment revenue, stimulate the country's economy and improve trade relations between Iraqi companies and the global business community.


IRAQ: NATO to open training centre in capital
IRAQ: Focus on the forthcoming trial of Saddam Hussein
IRAQ: Thousands of Karabila residents return
IRAQ: Leprosy treatment in the south very poor - officials
IRAQ: Doctors' salaries set to improve
IRAN: Hardliners win landslide victory in Presidential election
IRAN: Gruesome sentence upheld by Supreme Court
EGYPT: Journalists and human rights activists demand elimination of torture
EGYPT: Village declares itself FGM free
YEMEN: No assistance for tsunami victims

IRAQ: NATO to open training centre in capital

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has announced the opening of a new training centre in the capital, Baghdad, for Iraqi security forces. The move comes as daily attacks continue inside the country and the US steps up measures to deploy Iraqi troops in the front line against the insurgency. “We have reached a consensus that it will be a better way to serve the Iraqi forces with a better equipped and specialised centre inside the country,” NATO spokesman Robert Pszczel said from the Belgian capital, Brussels.

Full report

IRAQ: Focus on the forthcoming trial of Saddam Hussein

A'amel Abdul Juad, 33, held a photo of her parents and recalled the tragic day when the men from the regime of former president, Saddam Hussein broke into her house and shot her father and brothers. Her mother was raped and later died leaving her an orphan, alone in the world. "I lost all the members of my family when I was 10 years old. I saw all of them being assassinated," Juad said. Her horror dates from the attack in July 1982, when her family's village, Dujail, a Shi'ite town 80 km north of the capital, Baghdad, was stormed by Saddam's men.

Full report

IRAQ: Thousands of Karabila residents return

Thousands of residents are gradually returning to the town of Karabila, 325 km west of the capital, Baghdad, after fleeing a heavy US-led attack two weeks ago but for many there is little to go back to. Nearly 7,000 residents were displaced to the desert near the Syrian border during the fighting, according to the Iraq Red Crescent Society (IRCS). The town, which is home to 60,000 people, showed signs of extensive devastation following the battle, a five day operation which ended on 22 June. Nearly 1,000 residents are still displaced and living in the desert.

Full report

IRAQ: Leprosy treatment in the south very poor say officials

Leprosy patients in the south of the country have been suffering from a lack of medical assistance and poor living conditions according to health officials. They have been confined to a five-room quarantine hospital built from cement bricks without sanitation or power located in Butaiyrah district, 50 km north of the city of Amarah, in the southern Missan governorate. Leprosy is a chronic but curable disease caused by a bacillus which is not highly infectious. It is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contact with untreated people. It mainly attacks the skin and nerves causing gross disfiguration and disability if left untreated.

Full report

IRAQ: Doctors' salaries set to improve

The Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH) announced this week that they are going to respond to a request from doctors to increase their salaries. "Doctors in Iraq are still receiving insufficient salaries and their work should be respected. We expect that in the coming month their salaries will be raised according to their positions," Jalil al-Shummary, deputy ministry of health, said. Under Saddam Hussein's regime, doctors in Iraq received less than US $ 20 per month. After the war that ousted him in 2003, salary increases of up to $ 200 per month were awarded to doctors. The health ministry now hopes to offer further increments of up to 200 percent.

Full report

IRAN: Hardliners win landslide victory in Presidential election

Hardline conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has won a landslide victory in Iran's presidential elections, pledging to make Iran a "modern, advanced, powerful and Islamic model for the world." His victory is a shocking blow to Iran's reform movement which was backing ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the run-off between the two candidates in an unprecedented second round of voting. Rafsanjani was the frontrunner yet outsider Ahmadinejad has confounded political analysts and Iranian commentators by securing victory.

Full report

IRAN: Gruesome sentence upheld by Supreme Court

An Iranian court has sentenced a man to have his eyes surgically gouged out for a crime he committed 12 years ago, according to a report in the Iranian daily newspaper Etemaad. Amnesty International (AI) has condemned the sentence passed on the man known only as Vahid. The Iranian Supreme Court rejected an appeal earlier this month and ordered that the punishment should be carried out, although human rights groups in Iran have said that such unusual sentences are almost never carried out

Full report

EGYPT: Journalists and human rights activists demand elimination of torture

Egyptian journalists and human rights activists marked international day for the elimination of torture on Sunday by denouncing inhumane practices against prisoners. Muhammad Abdel Koddous, head of the Egyptian press syndicate's liberties committee, speaking at a conference at the Egyptian press syndicate in the capital, Cairo, described Egypt as using torture extensively as a means of interrogation. “Torture is a widespread phenomenon in all detention centres and police stations in Egypt and it has led to many deaths,” he said. “This is a symptom of an authoritarian regime which is supported by the state of emergency in Egypt,” he added.

Full report

EGYPT: Village declares itself FGM free

In a symbolic attack on the widespread practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt, religious leaders and gender activists, have signed a public declaration calling for an end to FGM, in the hamlet of Abou Shawareb, near Aswan in southern Egypt. FGM is a crudely performed operation to remove the clitoris from adolescent girls. It has been misinterpreted in strongly Islamic communities in parts of the Middle East and Africa, where it is widely practiced, as a religious rite of passage. However, the Islamic holy book, the Quran, does not call for female circumcision.

Full report

YEMEN: No assistance for tsunami victims

No relief has been provided in Yemen for victims of the December 2004 tsunami, neither has there been any attempt to assess or repair damage to the country's marine environments according to government officials. Independent fishermen in Al-Mahrah and Socotra suffered the more than anyone else from the tsunami, yet most of them "are still waiting for the government to do something," said Abdulkhaliq Al-Ghaberi, Director General of the Environmental Emergency Unit (EEU) in the Ministry of Water and Environment.

Full report


 Theme(s) Other
Other recent MIDDLE EAST reports:

Appeal to Arab world to give more to world’s poorest,  16/Dec/05

MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 52 for 11–15 December 2005,  15/Dec/05

“Invisible” children suffering from neglect, says UNICEF,  15/Dec/05

MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 51 for 4 – 8 December 2005,  11/Dec/05

MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 50 for 25 November – 1 December,  2/Dec/05

Other recent reports:

RWANDA: Body found in Brussels canal confirmed that of ex-minister's, 23/Dec/05

CENTRAL ASIA: Weekly news wrap, 23/Dec/05

WEST AFRICA: IRIN-WA Weekly Round-up 309 covering 17 - 23 December 2005, 23/Dec/05

CENTRAL ASIA: IRIN-Asia Weekly Round-up 51 covering the period 17 - 23 December 2005, 23/Dec/05

SOUTHERN AFRICA: IRIN-SA Weekly Round-up 262 for 17-23 December 2005, 23/Dec/05

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