Wien, 5. May 2004 Press release

Ferrero-Waldner shocked at abuse of detainees in military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan

05.05.2004

Minister for Foreign Affairs welcomes investigations launched by Americans and British

Vienna, 5 May 2004 - "The internationally recognised standards of international humanitarian law and the universally applicable human rights must be respected at all times, including in times of crisis. These indivisible common values must be the point of departure for a dialogue of trust between the cultures. I will stand up for these principles everywhere and at all times," said Minister for Foreign Affairs Ferrero-Waldner today, expressing her shock and concern at the reports of abuse of detainees in American prisons in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan.

Ferrero-Waldner said she shared UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's view that these incidents must be immediately and thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators punished, in order to prevent further detriment to the region. In this spirit the Foreign Minister welcomed the latest clear statements by members of the American and British governments.

Ferrero-Waldner emphasised that the joint goal of the international community is to bring about a stabilisation of the region and build up a functioning democratic order in Iraq. It was therefore now imperative that the Iraqi civilian population's confidence in this difficult process be restored as swiftly as possible.