Murder of Iraqi human rights defender condemned

Foreign minister Frans Timmermans and development cooperation minister Lilianne Ploumen have condemned the murder of Jalal Dhiab, an Iraqi representative of the black community in Basra. Mr Dhiab was closely involved in a project organised by IKV Pax Christi, which the Dutch government supports through the Human Rights Fund. He was killed by a Basra militia last Friday as he left his office.

Mr Timmermans praised Mr Dhiab as a great champion of the rights and freedoms of the Iraqi people and Iraqi organisations. He called on the authorities to launch an investigation as soon as possible. He also urged them to act against impunity and ensure that those guilty of violence against human rights activists are brought to justice.

Tensions in Iraq have been rising for some time. The EU foreign ministers expressed their concern last Monday, and called on all parties to renounce violence.