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IRIN Middle East | Middle East | MIDDLE EAST | MIDDLE EAST: MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 31 for 15-21 July 2005 | Children, Democracy, Economy, Education, Food Security, Gender issues, Health, Human Rights, Peace Security, Refugees IDPs | Weekly
Sunday 25 December 2005
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MIDDLE EAST: Weekly round-up Number 31 for 15-21 July 2005

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

Key Humanitarian Developments in Iraq

Nearly 25,000 civilians have died in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, according to a new report by academics and peace activists.

"The ever-mounting Iraqi death toll is the forgotten cost of the decision to go to war in Iraq," professor John Sloboda, one of the authors of the report, said.

The survey, carried out by the Iraq Body Count NGO and the Oxford Research Group, is based on more than 10,000 media reports published between 2003-2005. According to the survey results, 24,865 civilians have been killed.

Women and children accounted for almost 20 percent of all civilian deaths and almost half of the deaths were in the capital, Baghdad, the report said.

In a separate development, violence against media workers in Iraq continued in the last week. Gunmen fired on an Al-Iraqiya television crew in Baghdad last Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) stated. Three people were wounded in the attack, according to news reports.

Masked men walked up to the car in which the news crew were travelling and opened fire, al-Iraqiya correspondent Bassem al-Fadhli, who escaped inury, told AP news agency. This is the latest in a long line of attacks on media staff in the country, whether by insurgents or US forces.

At least three staffers of al-Iraqiya have died since the hostilities began more than two years ago.

The drafting process of Iraq’s new constitution suffered a setback with the assassination on Monday of Mijbil Sheikh al-Issa, a member of the Constitutional Drafting Commission. An adviser to the commission, Dahmen al-Jabouri, was also killed.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan strongly condemned the act and hoped that it would not deter other members of the commission in completing the draft by August. Issa was one of 15 Sunni representatives in the commission.

Three British soldiers are facing courts martial for charges amounting to war crimes in Iraq in September 2003, the BBC reported on Tuesday. The three are charged with inhuman treatment of persons under the International Criminal Court Act of 2001.

It is alleged that some of the soldiers committed a number of offences against a group of detainees arrested following a planned operation. The charges were announced by Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith in the British House of Lords on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, with reconstruction continuing at a slow pace in Iraq due to insecurity, up to US $500 million in soft loans will be made available over the next two years to finance projects in Iraq, the World Bank announced on Monday. The statement was made as the fourth donor’s conference for Iraq was underway at the Dead Sea resort in Jordan.

This lending package, provided at the request of the Iraqi government, is the first to be extended by the World Bank to Iraq since 1973. It is part of the Bank's commitment made at the first international donor conference for Iraq in Madrid in 2003.


IRAQ: Iraqi women 'need to be represented in constitution'
IRAQ: Preventive measures taken on Syrian border against HIV
IRAQ: Syllabus authorisation greeted with joy by students
IRAQ: Families returning to Karabila in need
YEMEN: Sixteen reported dead in petrol price protests
JORDAN: NGOs call for emergency funds and transparency for Iraq
JORDAN: Obstacles still faced in implementing child rights convention
EGYPT: Focus on efforts to stop FGM
IRAN: Exploring alternatives to youth custody

IRAQ: Iraqi women 'need to be represented in constitution'

Aid organisations working in the Middle East have called for greater protection of women’s rights under the new constitution in Iraq, which is currently being drafted. Some 20 NGOs, from Jordan, the occupied Palestinian territories and Iraq, raised their concerns at an international conference in the Jordanian capital, Amman, this week.

Full report

IRAQ: Preventive measures taken on Syrian border against HIV

Iraq’s Ministry of Health, in affiliation with the Ministry of Interior, is stepping up routine health checks at some international borders and carrying out compulsory HIV/AIDS tests on people entering the country. Tests are now being carried out on everyone that enters Iraq from Syria, in particular, to try and prevent the virus spreading inside the country.

Full report

IRAQ: Syllabus authorisation greeted with joy by students

Graduate students from Iraqi universities have finally received permission from the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) to have work they have completed authenticated by officials. “Students, from now on, will have the right to get their syllabus officially authenticated. This will help in their future outside the country as well as facilitate acceptance in worldwide universities,” Salah Aliwi, a senior official in the MoHE, said.

Full report

IRAQ: Families returning to Karabila in need

Nearly all residents from the town of Karabila, in Iraq’s western Anbar governorate, have returned, but are now in need of humanitarian assistance. They fled a heavy US-led attack on insurgents four weeks ago, aid agencies said. Some 65 percent of buildings in the town have been damaged following battles between US forces and insurgents, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS).

Full report

YEMEN: Sixteen reported dead in petrol price protests

Tension was high in the Yemeni capital, Sana, on Thursday after 16 people were reportedly killed on Wednesday during street protests. Clashes took place between police and local people demonstrating against cuts in government petrol subsidies, which have doubled prices at the pump. Protests were held in four Yemeni cities, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Full report

JORDAN: NGOs call for emergency funds and transparency for Iraq

NGOs working in Iraq have called on donors to establish emergency funds that can be disbursed quickly to provide support for aid workers in dangerous conditions. This is in addition to calls for more transparency and accountability with regard to the trust fund. The call came in a statement issued by the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI) on Tuesday, as donors involved in the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) met at the Dead Sea resort in Jordan on 18-19 July to review the state of play in the reconstruction of Iraq. NGOs were not invited to the meeting, which was a source of disappointment to them.

Full report

JORDAN: Obstacles still faced in implementing child rights convention

The Jordanian government still faces obstacles in fully implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, due to lack of finances, although some progress has been made, according to a new report. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), together with the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Ministry of Social Developments (MoSD) and National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA), launched Jordan's third report on Child Rights, covering the years 1998 to 2005, on Monday.

Full report

EGYPT: Focus on efforts to stop FGM

Eight-year-old, Samar (not her real name) suffers from bouts of psychological trauma every time she remembers the day she was circumcised in a village in the southern Egyptian governorate of Luxor. The girl said that the practice, carried out without anaesthetic, caused her terrible physical pain, which words could not describe. Originally from Aswan in southern Egypt, where female genital mutilation (FGM) is widely practised, Samar's mother took her to Luxor against her father's will. He did not want his daughter to be circumcised.

Full report

IRAN: Exploring alternatives to youth custody

Iran and Britain shared ideas on the sentencing onf young offenders at a UNICEF-sponsored workshop in Tehran this month. Representatives from Iran's judiciary, police, social workers and academics met David Padley, a British police inspector and policy adviser to the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales, to discuss ways in which Iran might reduce its youth custody rates.

Full report


 Theme(s) Children
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 Children reports:

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

SIERRA LEONE: With no prospects, youths are turning to crime and violence, 22/Dec/05

SENEGAL: Everyman’s library, 21/Dec/05

LIBERIA: UN renews ban on arms, diamonds and timber, 21/Dec/05

NIGERIA: Eight children die in attack on oil pipeline, 21/Dec/05

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