The government dossier can be found at:-Amnesty's views below the Guardian article.
Amnesty attacks Iraq torture dossier
Staff and agencies
Monday December 2, 2002
The government was today accused of manipulating information on human rights abuses in Iraq to build its case for war against Saddam Hussein.
Amnesty International said a dossier released today by the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, listing torture, rapes and other abuses perpetrated by the Baghdad regime, is a "cold and calculated manipulation" of the work of human rights activists.
"Let us not forget that these same governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty International's reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq before the Gulf war," the group's secretary general, Irene Khan, said.
"They remained silent when thousands of unarmed Kurdish civilians were killed in Halabja in 1988."
The report contains graphic first-hand accounts by victims of the regime's human rights abuses, as well as intelligence material and evidence from aid charities working in Iraq. It makes clear that the abuses are carried out as a policy of the Iraqi dictator.
Publication of the dossier is being seen as a further move by the government to make the case for war if President Saddam fails to comply with a UN resolution ordering him to disarm. Baghdad must submit a full declaration of its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in six days or face "serious consequences" under UN resolution 1441.
A team of UN weapons inspectors has been in Iraq for five days examining suspected arms sites.
In the introduction to the document - titled Saddam Hussein: Crimes and Human Rights Abuses - the Foreign Office said: "Iraq is a terrifying place to live.
"People are in constant fear of being denounced as opponents of the regime. They are encouraged to report on the activities of family and neighbours. The security services can strike at any time.
"Arbitrary arrests and killings are commonplace. Between three and four million Iraqis, about 15% of the population, have fled their homeland rather than live under Saddam Hussein's regime.
"These grave violations of human rights are not the work of a number of overzealous individuals but the deliberate policy of the regime. Fear is Saddam's chosen method of staying in power."
Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "No one doubts the barbarism of Saddam Hussein. It dates back to the period when, under a Conservative government, the UK was willing to sell him arms-related equipment and to give him substantial financial credit so that he could afford to make purchases.
"The issue is whether or not he will fulfil his obligations under the security council resolution 1441.
He said that "justifiable distaste for Saddam Hussein and all his works" should not obscure his obligations to the security council.
Sherif Ali bin al-Hussein of the Iraqi National Congress, which brings together a range of groups opposed to Saddam Hussein, today described the prospect of US military occupation of Iraq as liberation.
"Comparisons with Japan or Germany are incorrect," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"The true comparison should be with France, Holland or Denmark, looking on Iraq as a liberated country, not a defeated enemy."
AI Index: MDE 14/031/2002 (Public)
News Service No: 222
2 December 2002
Iraq: UK government dossier on human rights abuses
Amnesty International has not yet had time to study the report issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office detailing human rights abuses in Iraq. The organization has for many years documented gross human rights violations in Iraq and campaigned for adequate redress of these violations through proper internal and international mechanisms.
The statement attributed today to the Secretary General of Amnesty International is an extract from a previous statement published by the organization in September in response to statements and documents from the British and American governments in which they quoted from reports that Amnesty International had published over the years, on human rights abuses in Iraq.
The human rights situation in Iraq or elsewhere should not be used selectively. The US and other Western governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty International reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and ignored Amnesty International's campaign on behalf of the thousands of unarmed Kurdish civilians killed in the 1988 attacks on Halabja.
As the debate on whether to use military force against Iraq escalates, the human rights of the Iraqi people, as a direct consequence of any potential military action, is sorely missing from the equation.
Life, safety and security of civilians must be the paramount consideration in any action taken to resolve the current human rights and humanitarian crisis. The experience of previous armed intervention in the Gulf and other conflicts has shown that, all too often, civilians become the acceptable casualties of war.
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org
For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org