Iraq Approves First Human Rights Commission

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Baghdad's current problems notwithstanding, the Iraqi parliament took a positive step to disassociate the country from its violent past by approving the first-ever independent human rights commission.

Something that would have been impossible during the long, violent reign of Saddam Hussein, the commission is designed "to monitor all violations of human rights in all fields and in all governmental and non-governmental institutions," according to one Iraqi lawmaker.

Essentially, any Iraqi can issue a complaint to the commission, which is intended to supplant the current Human Rights Ministry following the 2014 elections, although it could happen much sooner than that.

The action was hailed on Tuesday by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the United Nations.  It's a step forward after several steps back because of simmering feuds between the Shiite-dominated government and the Sunni and Kurdish minorities that threaten national reconciliation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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