22 April 2003

Right to Live Free from Intimidation, Forced Expulsion Must Be Respected, Says Secretary-General, Following Reports of Violence in Northern Iraq

NEW YORK, 17 April (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is concerned about reports of murder, looting and the forced expulsion of Arabs in northern Iraq. Media reports, as well as eyewitness accounts from Human Rights Watch, indicate widespread intimidation and displacement in and around the city of Kirkuk and in other areas.

The Secretary-General is concerned that, unless the security vacuum that now exists is quickly addressed, there is a very real prospect of population displacement in Iraq. The Secretary-General appeals to all concerned to respect fundamental human rights principles, including the right to live free from intimidation and forced expulsion.

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