Subject: [Stop-traffic] Letter re Iraq women beheadings
From: Ann Jordan (Annj@HRLawgroup.org)
Date: Wed Nov 29 2000 - 18:09:13 EST
I sent the letter set out below today to Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of
State and a similar letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and UN Special Rapporteur on
Violence Against Women Radhika Coomaraswamy.
I urge everyone to send this or a similar letter to their foreign ministers
and also their heads of government. Additional letters to the 3 UN officials
would also be helpful in putting pressure on the UN to address this
Ann Jordan, Director
Initiative Against Trafficking in Persons
International Human Rights Law Group
1200 - 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-822-4600, ext. 27
November 28, 2000
The Honorable ......
We are writing to express our deep concern over reports of beheadings of
women accused of prostitution in Iraq. Recent news accounts indicate that
in the past few weeks between 30 and 60 women alleged to be prostitutes have
been executed. They were reportedly decapitated with swords, and their
heads were then publicly displayed at the entrance of their homes for days.
Reports have linked at least 50 of these executions to special military
forces led by U'day, a son of Saddam Hussein, and 10 to Ali Hassan
Al-Majeed, a military commander. Reports also indicate that some of the
women were and continue to be accused of prostitution in order to legitimize
these political executions. (Copies of those reports are annexed to this
These horrific acts are a serious violation of international human rights
obligations. No one should be executed for prostitution. Simple moral
outrage does not justify taking human lives.
These killings reflects a pattern of violence and discrimination against
women perpetrated by the Iraqi government, and constitutes the
nationalization of so-called "honor killings" of women for "immoral deeds".
These killings are occurring against a backdrop of reports of a "prison
cleansing" campaign responsible for 2,500-3,000 extrajudicial executions of
prisoners since 1997, mass rapes of female prisoners, and official immunity
from prosecution for family members involved in "honor killings" of women.
We call on the ... government and relevant UN bodies, governments,
non-governmental organizations and international actors to pressure the
Iraqi government to immediately cease these killings and to investigate and
punish those responsible.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
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