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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) coalition forces and (b) the international community are to be involved in the investigation by the Iraqi authorities into neglect and abuse of children in Iraqi orphanages and other institutions; and if he will make a statement. (156086)

The Government are aware of US military reports in June that they discovered a number of abused and neglected children at an Iraqi orphanage in Baghdad. In response to these reports, the Iraqi Prime Minister announced an Iraqi Government investigation into the conditions at the orphanage. The UK has had no direct involvement in this investigation, nor are we aware of direct coalition or wider international involvement.

The UK is committed to supporting the Government of Iraq in its efforts to strengthen respect for human rights, with a particular focus on protecting the rights of the most vulnerable groups in society. In a country emerging from over three decades of dictatorship and which currently faces continued violence, this process will take time. We are working with the Government of Iraq and international partners to develop the infrastructure essential for promoting and protecting human rights, including a legislative framework and oversight bodies as well as the judiciary, courts, and independent civil society organisations. This will help ensure that the human rights of all Iraqis, including vulnerable groups such as women, children and minorities, are protected in the future.