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UN RIGHTS EXPERT CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PROBE INTO
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN FALLUJAH
New York, May 3 2004 1:00PM
expert of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights today wrote to the
Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) strongly recommending that it establish an
independent inquiry into the health situation of the civilian population of
Fallujah following allegations that coalition forces might have violated
international humanitarian and human rights law.
Paul Hunt, the
Commission's Special Rapporteur on the right to health, http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/3D0396AD61D1C68CC1256E8900520F72?opendocument" said
according to some reports, 90 per cent of the estimated 750 civilians killed in
Fallujah were non-combatants.
His letter lists a number of allegations
that have been made against coalition forces, including the use of
indiscriminate force, resulting in civilian deaths and casualties; blocking
civilians from entering Fallujah's main hospital; preventing medical staff from
either working at the hospital or redeploying medical supplies to an improvised
health facility; occupying the hospital; and firing upon
"These are extremely serious allegations," the Special
Rapporteur said. "An independent investigation can establish whether or not they
are true. If they are not true, the coalition should not be falsely accused. If
they are true, steps must be taken to ensure these grave breaches of
international law do not recur. Lives are at stake - and so is the coalition's
credibility," he said.
"An independent enquiry is especially important
because recent events in Fallujah have been shielded from international
scrutiny," Mr. Hunt added. "Access to the city has been severely restricted -
and the extreme insecurity has meant that very few independent monitors have
been able to report on events."