Iraq and International Human Rights Declarations and Treaties

Posted on | August 7, 2009

United Nations Instruments
Iraq voted in favour of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

Iraq is a signatory to the following International Human Rights Treaties:

  • Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, acceded 1959
  • International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, signed 1969, ratified by Law 193 of 1970, published in the Official Gazette, issue 1926 of 7 October 1970, entered into force on 3 January 1976
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed 1969, ratified by Law 193 of 1970, published in the Official Gazette, issue 1926 of 7 October 1970, entered into force on 23 March 1976
    • Iraq has not signed the first optional protocol giving the right to individual petition to the Human Rights Committee
    • Iraq has not signed the second optional protocol aimed at the elimination of the death penalty
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, signed 1969, ratified 1970, entered into force on 12 February 1970
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, acceded 1986, entered into force on 12 September 1986
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child, acceded 1994, entered into force on 15 July 1994
    • Iraq ratified the optional protocols by Law 23 of 2007
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by Law No. 30 of 2008 (العربية), published in the Official Gazette, issue 4129 of 13 July 2009
  • Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (arabic)
  • Iraq did not support the United Nations declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity in the General Assembly in 2008 and supported an opposing statement sponsored by Syria.

The Human Rights Index for the Arab Countries, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (UNDP-POGAR), is a repository for the entire set of United Nations documents pertaining to human rights and the responses, including reservations, by the Arab member states to the committees that monitor the core international human rights treaties. It also carries a slightly out of date narrative account in Arabic of The Situation of Human Rights in Iraq.

Other Instruments

Iraq approved the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 1990. The Cairo Declaration is a guiding document that does not require ratification.
Iraq approved the original Arab Charter for Human Rights in 1994 and the revised version prepared by the Arab League at its Summit in Tunisia in May 2004 but it did not ratify it. The Charter entered into force on 16 March 2008.

The following reports may be of interest:

Iraq was the subject of a periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council in February 2010.