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WikiLeaks: 2006-03-10: 06BAGHDAD773: Acting Human Rights Minister on Disappearances and Displacement

by WikiLeaks. 06BAGHDAD773: March 10, 2006.

Posted: Sunday, February 05, 2012 at 12:13 PM UTC


Viewing cable 06BAGHDAD773, ACTING HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTER ON DISAPPEARANCES AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BAGHDAD773 2006-03-10 15:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy
Baghdad
VZCZCXRO5143
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHMOS
DE RUEHGB #0773/01 0691500
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101500Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3200
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 000773 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/07/2016 
TAGS: PHUM PTER KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: ACTING HUMAN RIGHTS MINISTER
ON DISAPPEARANCES AND DISPLACEMENT 
 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Robert S. Ford
for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Acting Minister of Human Rights Narmeen 
Othman told PolOffs March 5 that, although acts of violence 
and displacement appeared to have leveled off over the past 
two days, the situation remains tense.  Minister Othman 
asserted that reports of sectarian displacement had 
decreased over the past few days, but that displacement on 
a smaller scale would continue to occur.  Noting that the 
Ministry's Human Rights Report would be released within the 
next month, the Minister highlighted detainee abuse, 
disappearances, and sectarian displacements as the top 
three issues.  She underlined that the Ministry was 
receiving up to 50 reports a day of disappearances 
throughout Iraq, especially within Baghdad.  The Minister 
claimed that many of those abducted were eventually found 
dead. She did not, however, have the details to 
substantiate this statement.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
SECTARIAN SITUATION STILL TENSE, LEADERS ARE KEY 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
2. (C) On March 5, Minister Othman asserted to PolOffs 
that, although the level of violence appeared to have 
leveled off, the sentiment in the streets was still very 
tense.  The mood, she said, could be aggravated by many 
factors, including inaction by political leadership. 
Emphasizing the importance of political leadership unity, 
Minister Othman likened the political and social landscape 
to a gasoline spill that could be ignited by inaction. 
However, Minister Othman said that even with unity at the 
top leadership level, the social and political situation 
was also very much influenced by mid-level leaders and 
organizers. 
 
------------------------------------ 
REPORTS OF DISPLACEMENT LEVELING OFF 
------------------------------------ 
 
3. (C) Minister Othman said that the post-Samarra sectarian 
displacement spike had flattened out.  She was quick to 
point out however that sectarian displacement was not a new 
problem and would continue to occur, albeit on a smaller 
scale.  Simply because the recent spike in sectarian 
displacement had leveled off, she said, did not equate to 
the issue being resolved.  Pointing to an example close to 
home, she recounted how one of her Assyrian Christian 
employees had recently taken time off from work to find a 
new place to live.  An "X" had been spray-painted on his 
residence, a sign the Minister said, that the inhabitant 
was marked for assassination.  The Minister noted later 
that displacements would be highlighted in the Ministry's 
soon-to-be released Human Rights Report. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
DISAPPEARANCES STILL A SERIOUS ISSUE - MILITIAS KEY 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
4. (C) Turning her thoughts to other problems, Othman told 
PolOffs that the Ministry receives more than 50 reports a 
day about disappearances across Iraq, and the majority of 
these come from Baghdad.  The Minister asserted that many 
of these individuals have later been found dead shortly 
after their abductions.  Minister Othman, who is Kurdish, 
highlighted a recent case in which 3 Kurds from Sadr City 
were abducted over the past week, and subsequently killed. 
Like the recent displacements, she associated these 
disappearances and killings with increased levels of 
sectarianism and militia activity. 
 
5. (C) The Minister contended that the only way to defeat 
this problem would be to study the problem more carefully. 
To develop a sufficient strategy of action, she said, you 
must first study the enemy's strategy -- a simple course of 
action would not be sufficient.  For example, the Minister 
continued, even if Badr Corp members were expelled from the 
MoI, they would still belong to the Badr Corps, and would 
still conduct their death raids.  The key would be to learn 
more about what is motivating those involved with militias. 
Why, she asked PolOffs, do you think that Badr Corps has 
such a strong following, especially among those between 18 
and 25? 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
MINISTRY'S HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT TO BE RELEASED SOON 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
6. (C) After learning that the State Department's 2005 
 
BAGHDAD 00000773  002 OF 002 
 
 
Human Rights Report would be released within the next week, 
the Minister appeared pleased.  She in turn indicated to 
PolOffs that the Ministry's own Human Rights Report would 
be released to the Prime Minister's office within the next 
few weeks.  Othman pledged to share a bootlegged copy of it 
with the Embassy.  She indicated that detainee issues would 
be a primary focus of the report, as well as disappearances 
and displacements. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7. (C) The Minister's focus on militias, disappearances and 
other human rights issues was notable.  As the Minister of 
Environment as well as Acting Minister for Human Rights, 
Minister Othman has had to delicately balance her time 
between the two Ministries, often to the detriment of the 
Ministry of Human Rights, if not to both. Although Minister 
Othman will leave the ministry once a new Minister is 
appointed, we will endeavor to keep her and her colleagues 
engaged on human rights issues. 
KHALILZAD

 


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