[JURIST] The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) [official website] has expressed continued concern for the human rights situation in Iraq [JURIST news archive] in its latest bi-monthly report [PDF text], welcoming the new Iraqi government's "firm commitment to address forcefully urgent human rights concerns" while establishing democracy, but also noting concern over the increasing number of civilian casualties [press release] at the hands of terrorists, insurgents, militias and criminal groups. The report, released Monday, urged the government to immediately dismantle criminal groups and armed Shiite militias [CFR backgrounder] that are often accused of serious human rights violations, particularly in Iraqi-run detention centers under the control of armed militias [JURIST report].
The report welcomed steps taken towards national reconciliation [proposal text and press release; JURIST report] under the government of new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile], including the release [JURIST report] of over 3,000 detainees held by US and Iraqi forces. The report also noted the improving situation in the northern region of Kurdistan, complimenting new legislation in favor of women's and children's rights. In past reports, UNAMI has noted that sectarian violence has "severely undermined" human rights in Iraq and that there were an increase in allegations of rights violations [JURIST reports] during the first two months of 2006. The UN News Centre has more.