For Immediate Release
March 4, 2004
Iraq's Bill of Rights
The Iraqi Governing Council passed its Transitional Administrative Law early Monday morning.
This document will serve as the country's interim framework between the June 30 handover of sovereignty and the completion of a permanent constitution by a directly elected parliament.
A cornerstone of the framework is a Bill of Rights. The document's protection of individual rights is unprecedented for Iraq.
The Iraqi Bill of Rights guarantees the basic rights of all Iraqis, including freedom of religion and worship, the right to free expression, to peacefully assemble, to organize political parties, and to form and join unions.
This Bill of Rights also guarantees the right to peacefully demonstrate and strike, to vote, to a fair trial, and to be treated equally under the law. Discrimination based on gender, nationality, religion, or origin is strictly prohibited.
Under this law, all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty, and have a right to counsel and to remain silent. A fair, speedy, and open trial is guaranteed. Iraqi authorities may not subject anyone to arbitrary arrest or detention, including for their political or religious beliefs.. The right to habeas corpus is codified.
This was a truly historic moment for Iraq. At the signing ceremony, this 60-plus article document will be released to the public in its entirety.