BAGHDAD, April 29 (UPI) -- The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq said Wednesday the human rights situation in Iraq remains a top concern despite modest security improvements.
The report recognizes the improving trends in the security situation in Iraq for the reporting period of July to December 2008 but warns those gains are sustainable only with corresponding efforts aimed at strengthening the rule of law.
UNAMI said incidents of violence against women, notably female genital mutilation and so-called honor killings, remain areas unaddressed by the current leadership in Baghdad.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the situation facing Iraqi women as "extremely difficult," calling on Baghdad to make their protection a top priority.
The report acknowledged Iraqi gains in the adoption of measures against torture and other reforms but cautioned Baghdad to maintain its momentum.
"This is an opportunity for Iraq to advance all aspects of the rule of law and human rights by further introducing legal reforms, strengthening the judiciary, improving the conditions of detention and enabling access to justice," said the U.N. special envoy to Iraq, Staffan de Mistura.
The report released Wednesday was the 14th UNAMI report on human rights in Iraq.