UN human rights agency offers assistance to Iraqi officials

The initiative is one of a series of steps discussed by acting head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Bertrand Ramcharan, and Iraq’s Minister of Human Rights, Abdel Baset Turki, during a meeting on 3 December in Geneva.The talks focused on issues of human rights protection in Iraq and on efforts to deal with past violations, the agency said in a news release. Follow-up meetings between Iraqi officials and OHCHR continued through 4 December.Mr. Turki briefed Mr. Ramcharan on current human rights concerns in Iraq, as well as on efforts to prepare a declaration on human rights for the country, envisaged constitutional provisions on human rights and draft rights legislation. He sought the support of OHCHR in a number of areas, including the training of human rights trainers and the establishment of a human rights resource centre in Baghdad.Mr. Ramcharan said OHCHR would arrange a human rights training course urgently in Amman, Jordan, for officials of the human rights ministry. OHCHR was also ready to arrange for some 10 people to travel from Baghdad to Amman to meet with the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Iraq, Andreas Mavrommatis. Mr. Ramcharan and Mr. Turki expressed readiness to continue and intensify the dialogue.