HC Deb 17 June 2003 vol 407 cc142-3W
Mrs. Ellman

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence has been discovered of mass killings and torture in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's regime; and if he will make a statement. [119006]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

[holding answer 16 June 2003]: As documented in the FCO's December 2002 dossier "Saddam Hussein—Crimes and Human Rights Abuses", the human rights record under Saddam Hussein was appalling. The dossier examines Iraq's record on torture, the treatment of women, prison conditions, arbitrary and summary killings, the persecution of the Kurds and Shia, the harassment of opposition figures outside Iraq and the occupation of Kuwait. It is based on the testimony of Iraqi exiles, evidence gathered by human rights organisations and intelligence material.

Since the fall of the regime, information and testimonies are emerging that reveal a scale of torture and killing perpetrated by the regime which was arguably even greater than feared.

One example is that the UK team of forensic experts currently working in Iraq estimate that there may be at least 50 mass graves in Iraq and that more than 300,000 people may have been murdered.