- Documents on Democracy
Over 200 delegates representing diverse elements of the Iraqi opposition to the regime of Saddam Hussein convened the Iraqi National Congress in Vienna on 16-19 June 1992. Excerpts from the closing statement of the congress follow:
. . . The Congress acknowledged the diversity and plurality of Iraqi society while affirming the national unity of the Iraqi people. The Congress endorsed the total equality of all citizens including the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, recognizing their right to self-determination short of secession and within a unitary Iraqi state. . . .
The Congress also recognized the urgent need to relieve the oppression of the Arab Shi'ite majority through constitutional, democratic, and parliamentary practices. This practice of democracy was acknowledged as essential for the development and stability of the country. . . .
The Congress hailed the recent elections in Iraqi Kurdistan as an important step on the road to democratic change in Iraq, a change as crucial as the people's need for bread. . . .
The delegates stated the period of office for any [Iraqi] transitional government should not exceed one year. They called for free elections to select a national Iraqi parliament following the end of the dictatorship. This parliament will draft a permanent constitution for Iraq based on the principle of the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, which has suffered from major transgressions and imbalances under the dictatorship.
The Congress affirmed the equality of Iraqi citizens before the law, and called for citizenship based on the positive values of patriotism, rejecting those factors which have tended to divide society on the basis of religion, ethnicity, and gender.
The Congress called for the respect of cultural plurality in Iraqi society and the need to eliminate the errant educational policy of the [End Page 134] regime through the dissemination of democratic values and their incorporation in educational policies.
The Iraqi opposition, in its confrontation with the dictatorial, totalitarian, and repressive regime, affirms its clear aim to build a democratic, parliamentary, and pluralistic government in partnership with Arabs, Kurds, and other minorities, with cultural allegiance to Islam and its higher principles, and with close relations to its Arab and Islamic environment.
The essence of Iraq's political future is the removal of the harmful effects of dictatorship, the elimination of all systems of terror and repression, the establishment of a modern independent government with respect for Iraqi public opinion, the liberation of the individual from fear, and the establishment of the rule of law respecting human rights and basic freedoms while taking into consideration the special conditions of Iraq and benefiting from her Arab, Muslim, and international heritage.
President Boris Yeltsin of Russia and President George Bush of the United States signed a "Charter for American-Russian Partnership and Friendship" on 17 June 1992 in Washington, D.C. Excerpts relating to democracy from the charter appear below:
The United States of America and the Russian Federation . . .
Declaring their determination to observe strictly democratic principles and practices, including the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities;
Recognizing the importance of the rights of the individual in building a just and prosperous society; . . .
Desiring to build a democratic peace that unites the entire community of democratic nations; . . .
Have established the following Charter for American-Russian Partnership and Friendship:
Democracy and Partnership
The United States of America and the Russian Federation reaffirm their commitment to the ideals of democracy, to the primacy of the rule of law, and to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States of America fully supports the Russian Federation's efforts to build a democratic state and society founded on the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights. Beginning with mutual trust and respect as the basis for their relations, they are developing relations of partnership and friendship.
The United States of America and the Russian Federation will [End Page 135] cooperate closely in the international arena in the interest of advancing and defending common democratic values and human rights and fundamental freedoms. . . .
The United States of America intends to continue cooperation toward strengthening democratic institutions and a rule of...