Renewed U.N. concerns about Iraq

Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:37 AM

BAGHDAD, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The United Nations said it was concerned about the state of affairs in Iraq, where violence is increasing a year after U.S. forces left.

U.S. combat forces left Iraq in December 2011 under the terms of a bilateral status of forces agreement. Since then, internal political divisions, rival clashes and terrorist attacks have sparked concerns about Iraq's post-war stability.

A report produced by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq and the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights finds more than 1,300 civilians were killed in violent acts during the first six months of the year. The report said the increase is modest but noted attacks in Iraq are more deadly than previously.

Martin Kobler, U.N. special envoy for Iraq, said the human rights situation was in jeopardy along with national security.

"Respect for human rights is at the basis of any democracy and strong action needs to be taken by the Iraqi authorities to ensure that each and every person in this country can fully enjoy his or her fundamental rights," he said.

Recently attacks across the country brought renewed concerns from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who recently visited with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a key interlocutor, suffered a stroke this week and is said to be critical condition.

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