Dáil Éireann - Volume 568 - 12 June, 2003

Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.

  45. Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the major human rights abuses that went on during the war in Iraq; if he has satisfied himself that the media did not give all the facts to the Irish people; and his views on whether this type of reporting and behaviour is bad for democracy. [16278/03]

  Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I am aware that there have been media reports concerning allegations of human rights abuses in Iraq during the recent conflict. There is, as yet, no authoritative account of what took place which would permit the Government to form a view. A number of international human rights organisations are investigating these allegations at present, and my Department is monitoring their efforts. I would expect the authorities of countries involved in military action in Iraq to investigate allegations that human rights abuses were committed by members of their forces. In fact, details of such allegations have emerged in a number of cases precisely because the allegations had become a matter of official investigation.

  It is not for the Government to pass judgment on the standard of media reporting. On the contrary, the Government believes that democracy is best served by independent and open media.