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Iraq: No Rights Respected In Repressive, One-Party State

Washington, 26 February 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Iraq is a repressive, one-party state dominated by President Saddam Hussein and members of his extended family.

That conclusion comes from the U.S. State Department's annual report on human rights practices around the world. It was released today.

Unlike most of the other nearly 200 countries reported on, the U.S. noted that it does not have diplomatic ties with Iraq and had to rely in large measure on non-U.S. government sources.

The report concludes that there was no improvement in the government's already poor human-rights record in 1998. There was virtually no universally accepted human right that was respected in Iraq.

The U.S. said citizens do not have the right to change their government. The government continued to infringe on the right to privacy. Authorities routinely used arbitrary arrests and detentions.

The U.S. cited a United Nations report which confirmed that freedom of speech, the press, assembly and association simply do not exist in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, except for some parts of northern Iraq under the control of Kurdish factions.

Saddam Hussein, said the U.S., continued to carry out summary executions of perceived political opponents and leaders of the Shi'a religious community.

The U.S. said the government continued to kill and torture persons accused of economic crimes, military desertion, and a variety of other charges.