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U.S. Delegation Visits Baghdad, Irbil To Promote Rights

Two senior U.S. diplomats have visited Iraq's capital, Baghdad, and the northern city of Irbil to promote the importance of human rights in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement on February 17 that Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein met with Iraqi government leaders, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, and civil society activists during their February 8-11 visit.

Malinowski and Saperstein also met with representatives of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minority communities, students, journalists, and residents of a camp for internally displaced persons.

The statement said the two diplomats "underscored the importance of inclusive governance, respect for human rights, and protection of civil society, including Iraq’s diverse religious communities, to fully defeat ISIL’s divisive ideology."

The U.S. diplomats voiced their concern over allegations of human rights abuses by militias in Iraq, and stressed the importance of accountability for alleged abuses, "to avoid reinforcing the sectarian divisions that facilitated ISIL’s rise in the first place."

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