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Iraq: Human Rights Watch Calls On U.S. Troops To Do More For Rape Victims

Cairo, 16 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A human rights group has urged U.S. troops in Iraq to do more for rape victims who are being turned away by Iraqi police. New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report issued yesterday that crimes against women have increased along with other crimes since former leader Saddam Hussein was ousted in early April.

The problem, however, could in part be traced to a regime whose laws fostered attitudes that women could invite sexual assault, according to the report.

Human Rights Watch said Iraq's reconstruction should include reform of sex crime laws. And it suggested until the Iraqi police can do the job themselves, U.S.-led coalition forces should establish a unit of men and women trained to investigate sex crimes and sex trafficking. The group also called on coalition forces to train Iraqi police to better respond to reports of sex crimes.