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Significant human rights issues noted in U.N. report on Iraq

By the CNN Wire Staff
Iraqis walk through the rubble of a liquor store that was targeted in a car bomb attack in Baghdad on July 28, 2011.
Iraqis walk through the rubble of a liquor store that was targeted in a car bomb attack in Baghdad on July 28, 2011.
  • The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq releases a report on the human rights situation there
  • The report finds widespread problems still existed in 2010, the year covered by the report
  • Extremists, poverty and judicial problems were responsible for many violations, the mission says

Baghdad (CNN) -- Violence by extremists, widespread economic problems and significant failures in the judicial system contributed to shortcomings in Iraq's 2010 human rights record, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq said in a report released Monday.

"The human rights situation throughout Iraq remains fragile as the country slowly transitions from a conflict to post-conflict country that faces enormous development challenges that the Government and people of Iraq must now address," the report's authors wrote. "Widespread poverty, economic stagnation, lack of opportunities, environmental degradation and an absence of basic services constitute 'silent' human rights violations that affect large sectors of the population."

Much of the concern over human rights involved armed insurgent or terrorist groups, according to the report. The U.N. mission said the 2,953 civilian deaths it attributed to armed conflict in 2010 came largely at the hands of insurgent and terrorist groups. It said minorities, women and children suffered disproportionately.

Torture and poor judicial practices also remain widespread, the U.N. mission said.

Defendants are frequently not told what they are charged with, have no access to lawyers and are held longer than legally allowed without trial, according to the report.

"The judicial system also remains weak -- and an over reliance on confessions, rather than on properly gathered forensic evidence, to convict encourage an environment where torture of detainees takes place," the report's authors wrote.

Womens' rights also deteriorated, with so-called honor killings and domestic violence against women widespread and female genital mutilation widely practiced in northern Iraq, according to the report.

The report also said security forces disproportionately target journalists, threatening freedom of expression.

In April, the U.S. State Department released a report with similar findings, saying violence, corruption and organizational failings among government agencies, as well as actions by violent extremist groups, were contributing to significant human rights problems.