Iraqi abuses 'on massive scale'

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The Independent Online
GENEVA (Reuter) - A UN investigator said yesterday Iraq was guilty of human rights violations on a massive scale and laid the blame squarely on Saddam Hussein's system of government.

In a report to the UN Human Rights Commission, the special rapporteur Max van der Stoel said abuses included economic deprivation, torture and mass executions of ethnic minorities. He added: 'Such violations are effected through a variety of means, but for one overriding reason; the present order of government in Iraq tolerates no real opposition.'

Mr van der Stoel, a former Dutch foreign minister appointed rapporteur in 1991, was not allowed to visit Iraq for his inquiry and had to rely on outside evidence and official Iraqi documents seized after the Gulf war. He said he applied the highest judicial standards when evaluating evidence. 'The special rapporteur does not hesitate to conclude that there have been and continue to be human rights violations of the gravest nature on a massive scale,' he wrote.