Western powers pressed Iraq on Feb. 16 to clean up its human rights record by investigating allegations of torture, halting honor killings of women and abolishing the death penalty. The United States, Britain, Canada, France and Germany were among delegations to denounce continuing violations in Iraq during debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council. “Allegations of torture are a cause for concern, and impunity should not be tolerated. We remain concerned that Iraq maintains the death penalty and that the number of executions has increased in the last two years,” Peter Gooderham, Britain’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, told the forum that has 47 member states plus observers. He urged Iraq to establish a moratorium on executions. Some 79 people had been hanged in Iraq last year, France’s ambassador Jean-Baptiste Mattei said, adding that nearly 900 people are waiting on death row. (Reuters)

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