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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

HR/CN/1015
1 April 2003

COUNTRIES TRADE BARBS OVER ‘SELECTIVITY’ IN HUMAN RIGHTS,
DEBATE JUSTIFICATIONS OF WAR IN IRAQ

Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty
Presents Report to Commission on Human Rights

(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 1 April (UN Information Service) -- The Commission on Human Rights carried on this afternoon with its annual debate over alleged abuses anywhere in the world, hearing a series of complaints that the discussion amounted to unfair finger-pointing by Western democracies at less-developed countries, and that the current war against Iraq made a mockery of any criticism of Iraq's domestic human rights record.

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General Debate on Question of Violation of Human Rights in Any Part of World

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MIKE SMITH (Australia) said egregious human rights violations had been the hallmark of Saddam Hussein's regime for the past quarter century.  This regime had ruthlessly attacked its own people with chemical weapons, and had tortured, brutalized and dehumanized its own people, particularly its minorities.  Australia had been and was committed to securing a future where the Iraqi people could live without fear and could embrace freedom, justice and peace.  The tragic loss of life and injury had gone on for far too long in Israel and Palestine.  ...

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IVAN MORA GODOY (Cuba) said while Member States were gathered in Geneva listening to pious pontificating intended to put developing countries on the dock, these self-appointed judges and prosecutors were paying no attention to the bombs that were killing innocent civilians and trampling on international law.

The self-appointed defenders of world peace were dropping their deadly bombs over Baghdad causing the death of civilians.  Double standards had never before presided over this system to such a degree and brazenness.  Those who had advanced the terrifying doctrine of “pre-emptive and surprise war”, claimed the right to define an "Axis of Evil" and proclaimed themselves as champions of human rights, were the same who condoned Israel's genocidal military actions against the Palestinian people; fostered xenophobia; tolerated the commercial sexual exploitation of children; and accepted discrimination against their indigenous people.

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For information media - not an official record