G-8: Learn lessons for Iraq reconstruction

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Monday, June 02, 2003 at 11:42AM :

G-8: Learn lessons for Iraq reconstruction
Report, Human Rights Watch

31 May 2003

The "Group of Eight" world leaders gathering in Evian should learn lessons from Afghanistan when it comes to rebuilding Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. The G-8 summit is expected to pledge international support for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq.

"Afghanistan's recovery has been undermined by the same human rights problems that are now developing in Iraq," said Rory Mungoven, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "G-8 members should not repeat those mistakes."

Human Rights Watch said the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan had failed to provide adequate security, to allow human rights monitoring, or to ensure that powerful figures responsible for past abuses were removed from positions of influence.

Human Rights Watch called on G-8 members to support long-term police and judicial reforms in Iraq, starting with the screening and vetting of law enforcement personnel to remove abusive officials. G-8 leaders should also support the establishment of an international tribunal to try those responsible for the grave abuses committed in Iraq over many years.

In Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch called on G-8 members to support the expansion of international peacekeeping forces and human rights monitoring to better enforce disarmament plans and improve security for the upcoming constitutional process and elections.

Human Rights Watch also urged G-8 leaders to deploy troops immediately to stop bloodshed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At their last summit meeting in Canada, G-8 leaders pledged support for the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) and peace initiatives in the Great Lakes region.

Human Rights Watch called on the G-8 to work with Nepad to develop a binding code of conduct for companies to prevent the illegal exploitation of resources or funding of warring parties in conflicts like the DRC. A United Nations expert report last year alleged that several companies based in G-8 countries were involved in such activities in the DRC.

Human Rights Watch joined with other non-governmental organizations in calling on the G-8, international financial institutions and credit agencies to require that resource extraction companies publish their payments to, and relevant contractual arrangements with, governments in all countries where they operate. Human Rights Watch welcomed the auditing arrangement the U.N. Security Council has put in place to monitor Iraqi oil revenues, but urged that the audits include expenditure as well as be published on a quarterly basis.

Human Rights Watch called on G-8 leaders to stop the transfer of small arms to human rights abusers, and to promote binding treaties at the international and regional level to regulate arms transfers on human rights grounds.

"If G-8 leaders are sincere in their commitment to Africa's development, they can stop their companies engaging in the blood trade that is fuelling many African conflicts," Mungoven said.

The Human Rights Watch letter to G-8 leaders also highlighted concerns that the fight against terrorism is being used by many governments -- including G-8 members -- to justify human rights abuses and support to repressive governments.

Related Links:

Full text HRW's letter to G8 before Evian-les-Bains Summit

-- Sadie
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