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This page provides a number of significant documents relating to the war and occupation of Iraq.
It sets out relevant Security Council resolutions, the quarterly reports from the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) and reports of the Secretary General. Documents from Iraq, the US and the UK are also provided.
US Documents | UK Documents | Iraqi Documents | Archived Documents
Security Council Documents
The Iraqi Parliament and the UN Security Council: Questions About Renewal of the MNF Mandate (November 5, 2007)
The Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for twelve months. The resolution reflects Washington's call for a "greater" UN involvement in Iraq, especially at the political and economic level. The text fails, however, to acknowledge the scale of the humanitarian crisis and to de-link UNAMI from the US-led Coalition, on which the UN mission now relies for its security. Critics oppose an expanded role for the UN in Iraq before the end of the occupation.
The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1557 extending the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for a period of twelve months, with the possibility of reviewing the mandate earlier at the request of the Iraqi government.
- See Archived Documents for Security Council Resolutions
UNAMI Human Rights ReportsAccording to this delayed UNAMI report issued December 2008, the US should "ensure full respect for international law when engaged in military operations" and must fully investigate allegations of unlawful killings by US forces. The report continues to ask the US to allow more oversight over its detention facilities and to improve detainee's legal rights.This UNAMI human rights report issued March 2008, addresses the increased problem of internally displaced persons and refugees in Iraq resulting from continued violence within the country. "As of December 2007, there were over 4.4 million displaced Iraqis worldwide, including some 2.5 million inside Iraq and about 1.9 million in neighboring countries." Furthermore, multinational forces (MNF) refuse to release juvenile detainees even after the dismissal of their cases and forbid humanitarian agencies, including UNAMI, from gaining access to MNF detention facilities.The eleventh quarterly UNAMI report is released three months after its June 2007 end date. The report criticizes the Iraqi government for the inadequate response to the humanitarian disaster, particularly the plight of internally displaced refugees. The report documents widespread human rights abuses including prolonged detention, torture and an absence of due process for detainees held in Iraqi and MNF facilities and it calls for more judicial oversight. UNAMI also cites the killing of numerous Iraqi civilians by Blackwater and urges the US to establish mechanisms to hold contractors accountable for crimes committed in Iraq.According to this UNAMI report, the security situation in Iraq is deteriorating, with various armed groups violating human rights in the country. However, unlike the previous reports, this document does not contain the death toll figures as the Iraqi Ministry of Health has refused to provide such information. Mass arrests are also taking place in the country as a part of the Baghdad Security Plan. Between January and March, the Coalition forces arrested and detained an additional 3,000 Iraqis. The report also calls attention to the worsening Iraqi living conditions, with a 60 percent unemployment rate and 54 percent of the population living on less than US$1 a day.
Violence is escalating in Iraq. According to this UNAMI report, 34,452 Iraqi civilians have been killed and 36,685 wounded during the year 2006. Internal displacement also rose sharply, with approximately 470,000 people forced to flee their homes. The human rights situation continues to deteriorate as law enforcement agencies fail to efficiently protect the Iraqi people. Growing unemployment, poverty and limited access to basic services are eroding the Iraqi people's economic, social and cultural rights. UNAMI urges the Iraqi authorities to unite in their efforts to strengthen the rule of law and reduce human rights abuses.This UNAMI report states that violence has reached alarming levels in Iraq, with terrorist attacks, roadside bombs and drive-by shootings eroding civilians' rights to life and personal integrity. Furthermore, growing unemployment, poverty and a lack of access to basic services have undermined socio-economic rights in Iraq. UNAMI urges the Iraqi government, the multinational forces and the international community to increase their efforts in reasserting the authority of the Iraqi administration and to promote the rule of law. In particular, UNAMI recommends that the government seek to dismantle the armed militias, combat corruption and organized crime, and maintain discipline within the security and armed forces.
This UNAMI report describes the lack of centralized and authorized control over the use of force in Iraq, which allows militias and death squads to operate unrestricted. UNAMI states that the growing perception of impunity for current and past crimes further erodes the rule of law, hindering the Iraqi government's efforts to maintain order. In addition, reports of torture in official detention centers remain widespread. The report also expresses concern about the rising number of "honor crimes" against women, attacks on lawyers and judges, and the suppression of information through the killing of journalists.
This UNAMI report discusses the urgent human rights problems in Iraq. Abuses committed by multinational forces and armed groups "remain the root causes of ongoing grievances and foment the cycle of violence." While welcoming positive steps by the government to promote national reconciliation, the report raises alarm at the growing number of casualties among the civilian population. UNAMI concludes that the government of Nouri Al-Maliki must dismantle militias, set up accountable institutions, and deliver reparations to victims of past atrocities.
According to UNAMI, ongoing MNF military campaigns, the rise in armed militias, and a "break down in law and order" have severely undermined the enjoyment of human rights in Iraq. MNF activities have led to numerous civilian deaths - increasingly of women and children - throughout Baghdad and central Iraq. In addition, human rights NGOs, activists, journalists, and other professionals have been the target of violent and criminal activity, while nearly 29,000 detainees remain under Iraqi and US custody, in poor conditions and without trial.
According to this UNAMI report, the human rights situation in Iraq "remains a matter of serious concern." Iraqi militias, security forces and "death squads" have contributed to increasing sectarian violence, including murder, torture and displacement, following the February 22 bombing of the Al Askari shrine in Samarra. In addition, the report highlights the MNF's excessive use of force against Iraqis in its ongoing military operations and questions the legality and conditions of MNF detentions.
2005This United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) report chronicles human rights violations in Iraq from November 1 to December 31, 2005. According to the report, major human rights concerns include the Iraqi Interior Ministry's detention and torture policies, civilian deaths and displacement caused by ongoing military operations, and US-backed detentions without judicial review.According to this United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) report covering the period of September 1 to October 31, both US- and Iraqi-led military forces have had a negative impact on human rights. The report criticizes US and Iraqi armed forces for arresting doctors and occupying medical facilities in Anbar province, in violation of international human rights law.This UNAMI report highlights the ongoing human rights concerns in Iraq, including the general lack of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for Iraqi citizens. The document particularly calls attention to "the handling of the circumstances and conditions for detention [which] continues to present a major challenge to the Iraqi authorities and to UNAMI."
Reports of the Secretary-General and Other UN Documents
2007UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon reports on the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The Secretary-General summarizes political developments in Iraq, citing political boycotts, assassinations, resignations and the formation of alliances. He criticizes the inadequate effort by the Iraqi government to provide basic services to internally displaced Iraqis The report concedes that ongoing violence in Iraq impedes the work of the UN in dealing with human rights violations, including the plight of detainees held in Iraqi and MNF facilities. The Secretary-General suggests there is an opportunity for the UN to increase its role in Iraq, especially in the area of national reconciliation.
In his quarterly report to the Security Council, Secretary General Kofi Annan provides a summary of events during the past three months in Iraq. While he welcomes Iraq's elections and continued political negotiations, Annan warns that "the human rights situation in Iraq remains a cause of great concern." US and Iraqi internment of thousands of Iraqis "constitutes de facto arbitrary detention," blasts the Secretary General, who calls for the publication of investigations about the legality and conditions of detention in Iraq.
2005Iraq's environment has suffered from years of conflict and neglect. According to this report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), thousands of sites have been heavily contaminated with toxic compounds, chemicals, and pesticides. The report, which assesses five "hot spots" bombed or looted during the US-led invasion, highlights Iraq's environmental and public health risks.Resolution 1546 requires that the UN Secretary General report on the progress of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on a quarterly basis. His third report focuses on the political process, particularly the relative success of the January 2005 elections but also on the absolute need for Iraqis to engage in a "national dialogue and reconciliation." Topics also covered include UNAMI involvement in "reconstruction, capacity-building and humanitarian assistance activities" and a potential UN role in drafting the constitution.
At the request of the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council, UN Under Secretary General Lakhdar Brahimi conducted a UN election assessment team mission to evaluate whether or not elections could take place by June 30, 2003. His report details the findings of the mission dispatched to Iraq, and offers recommendations as to the future role of the UN in Iraq.
In his first report to the Council, the Secretary General outlines his overall approach for UN presence in Iraq. The report calls for a clear timetable for the restoration of sovereignty with specific steps for ending the US military occupation.
In his letter to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Congressman Bill Delahunt raises concerns about the reported widespread abuse of detainees in Iraq. But Delahunt only focuses on Iraqi run detention facilities and fails to mention additional reports of abuse and the overall lack of oversight in US-run detention facilities such as Camp Bucca.
Testifying before US Congress, General David Petraeus recommends that based on "substantial progress" in the security situation in Iraq, troop numbers can be reduced to pre-surge levels by summer 2008. The General says the decline in â€˜security incidents' in Iraq is attributable to Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. The General refuses to set a timeline for further troop reductions past 2008, as "projecting too far in the future â€¦ can be misleading and even hazardous." He warns of the implications of rapid withdrawal of US forces and says a solution to Iraq's problems requires a long-term effort.
Declaration of Principles for a Long Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America (November 27, 2007)In late November 2007, President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki entered into a Declaration of Principles for Future Cooperation. The pact claims to recognize the sacrifices made by "Iraqis and Americans for the sake of a free, democratic, pluralistic, federal and unified Iraq." It lays the basis for extended US presence in Iraq in political, economic and security spheres, including a preference for US companies in foreign investments. The pact suggests that the Iraqi government will request the extension of the MNF mandate for "a final time" and after this a bilateral agreement will dictate the relationship between the two countries.
Memorandum to the Members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Regarding Additional Information About Blackwater USA (October 1, 2007)This memorandum from the US Congress, House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, details evidence the Committee obtained regarding the actions of Blackwater USA in Iraq. The memo suggests this private security company has been involved in 195 shooting incidents in which Blackwater employees initiated the use of force. Blackwater has covered up a number of incidents in which civilians were injured or killed and the State Department has failed to supervise the actions of Blackwater forces. The Committee also discloses that the cost to taxpayers of using private security contractors is six times the cost of using a US soldier for the same protective services in Iraq. Finally, the memo outlines the government contracts awarded to Blackwater since 2001, which total more than US$1 billion.
US Senate Congress Resolution 37 Expressing the Sense of Congress on Federalism in Iraq (June 7, 2007)This resolution, sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joseph R Biden, sets out the position of the United States Senate on Iraq's political system. The non-binding resolution provides support for "political settlement among Iraq's major factions â€¦ and allows for the creation of federal regions." The Senate voted on the resolution in September 2007 with a majority voting in favor of dividing Iraq into three regions. While the Iraqi constitution provides for a tripartite structure, this resolution calls for local and regional efforts to achieve the division. Iraq's government says the resolution signals a disaster for Iraq.
2006This report warns that Iraq will "slide toward chaos" unless the US changes course and seeks more diplomatic and political solutions to providing security and stability in Iraq. The 160-page document, known as the Baker/Hamilton report, advises that the US involve Iraq's neighbors in brokering a peaceful resolution, but criticizes regional countries for "not doing enough to help Iraq achieve stability." The report does little to indicate that the US military presence in Iraq will decrease. While it does recommend a drawing down of some combat troops, the Study Group recommends that the Iraq government meet certain conditions before any troops withdraw, and refuses to set specific timeframes for departure.A leaked memo from the US embassy in Baghdad to the State Department in Washington paints a grim picture of the situation in Iraq. The revealing cable, signed by the US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, describes a situation in Iraq "wholly at odds with the optimistic account of developments" given by coalition leaders. The memo depicts a deteriorating situation, with Iraqis employed by the US embassy living in fear of attack, Iraqi women finding it dangerous not to wear a veil, and power cuts and fuel shortages placing a drain on Iraqi society.This document details the steps leading to the restoration of Iraq sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority on June 30, 2004.
2002In his formal advice to British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the legality of the Iraq war, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith expresses doubt that an invasion could be legally justified. He characterizes the goal of "regime change" as a disproportionate response to Saddam Hussein's alleged failure to disarm, and warns that international law considers such action illegal.This secret memo details the UK government's support of the US administration's "inevitable" invasion of Iraq, almost a year before the war started. The memo sheds light on the decision-making process in Washington, where "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy [of military action]," according to the head of MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence service. The MI6 chief also presciently noted that "there was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
a href="/images/pdfs/042007unletterenglish.pdf" target="_blank">Letter from a Majority of Iraqi Parliament to Members of UN Security Council (April 28, 2007)
This letter from members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives (parliament) argues that the UN Security Council should not renew the multinational force mandate in Iraq without an Iraqi request ratified by parliament. The letter affirms that it is "unconstitutional" for the Cabinet under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to "unilaterally" request such a renewal. The letter also calls for a timetable for the withdrawal of the MNF. Dated April 28, 2007, the letter was apparently handed over to the UN in Baghdad, but never delivered to Security Council members. The 144 signatures represent an absolute majority of the 275 seats in the Iraqi Parliament. See letter in Arabic or English. (Iraqi Parliamentarians)
2005The Associated Press has provided an English translation of the Iraqi constitution. On October 15, Iraq held a constitutional referendum on whether or not to accept the document. After reviewing the process, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq confirmed the election results and the contititution was approved.A subcommittee of the drafting committee of the Iraqi constitution has written a preliminary bill of rights. Translator Nathan J. Brown provides commentary throughout the document, which covers areas such as citizenship, security, health care, and freedom of association, among other issues. He notes that the bill departs from the previous interim constitution adopted by the Iraqi Governing Council in March 2004, in that it contains strong wording on welfare rights.(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
2004The US appointed 25-member Iraqi Governing Council approved an interim constitution setting out the rule of law that will govern Iraqi affairs until such time a directly elected government drafts a "permanent and legitimateâ€? constitution. Will this document stand the test of time?