EU and UNOPS release report on Iraqi human rights work

BAGHDAD – A report has been released describing how a programme to protect detainees and torture victims has worked to improve lives in Iraq for the past four years.

​The 12-page booklet uses pictures, quotes, facts and figures to describe work done in the European Union-funded project under three sections: Access to justice, Working with prisoners and their rights, and Helping victims of torture and violence.

It describes how detainees in Iraq remain vulnerable to poor prison conditions and other human rights violations. In addition, individuals who have suffered torture and other forms of violence are often unable to get the psychological and medical help they need. The Programme for the Protection of Detainees and Torture Victims, funded by the EU and implemented by UNOPS, has been working to combat these issues in a range of ways.

Between 2008 and 2011, the programme provided over 1,300 detainees with free legal services, including legal representation in court and processed over 2,600 hotline calls for legal consultations in 17 Iraqi governorates. It also trained around 520 prison staff on the humane treatment of prisoners and provided over 4,600 men, women and children with rehabilitation services for problems resulting from torture and violence.

By working directly with lawyers, doctors, psychotherapists, police officers, detention centre staff, Iraqi authorities and NGO workers, the programme has increased dialogue and cooperation between Iraqi civil society and public authorities on the situation of prisoners and on combating torture.

This cooperation focused on supporting individual cases as well as on building capacity to protect human rights in a wider sense. It has served to highlight the important contributions civil society can make to support government efforts to improve human rights in Iraq.

The report is called ‘Working for a better life for torture victims and prisoners in Iraq’ and can be downloaded in English, Arabic or Kurdish.