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Iraq

    October 29, 2019

    Iraqi security forces resorted yet again to excessive and unlawful lethal force to disperse crowds of largely peaceful protesters in the southern city of Karbala last night, said Amnesty International, after at least 14 protesters were reported killed and more than 100 injured.

    Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses and verified geo-located video footage indicates that Iraqi security forces and anti-riot police opened fire using live ammunition as well as tear gas, chasing peaceful protesters staging a sit-in at the Tarbiya roundabout on 28 October. Witnesses also said security forces attempted to run them over with vehicles. 

    “In horrific scenes from Karbala last night, Iraqi forces opened live fire on peaceful protesters and resorted to excessive and often lethal force to disperse them in a reckless and utterly unlawful manner. These scenes are all the more shocking as they come despite assurances from Iraqi authorities that there would be no repeat of the extreme violence used against demonstrators during protests earlier this month,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

    August 28, 2019

    Responding to news that hundreds of internally displaced Iraqis, mostly women and children, have been forcibly returned today from a northern camp, Hammam al-Alil, to their hometown in Hawija despite serious humanitarian and security concerns, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said:

    “These reports that hundreds of internally displaced Iraqis are being loaded onto buses and taken to Hawija are extremely disturbing – much of the city is in ruins. Many of these people don’t have homes to go back to, and will struggle to access essential services such as health care and schooling and may not afford access to water and electricity. Until the government has established a framework to ensure their safe, voluntary return, the Iraqi government must refrain from sending anyone back. 

    March 01, 2019

    A new cybercrimes law that would impose heavy prison sentences and hefty fines against peaceful critics who express themselves online would be a devastating setback for freedom of expression in Iraq, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization has highlighted its serious concern over the draft “Law on Information Technology Crimes” in an open letter signed by nine other NGOs. The letter was submitted to the Iraqi authorities this morning and warns that the proposed law would “establish a climate of self-censorship in the country.”

    “If passed, this draconian cybercrime law will be a devastating blow for freedom of expression in Iraq. The vague and overly broad wording of the law means it could easily become a tool for repression in a country where the space for critical voices is already severely restricted,” said Razaw Salihy, Iraq researcher at Amnesty International.

    February 01, 2019

    Responding to the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) admission that its air strikes in Mosul, Iraq may have caused up to 18 civilian deaths in 2017, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “The Australian Defence Force’s latest admission that its air strikes killed civilians during the battle for Mosul in 2017 is a step in the right direction. Once again, the Australian government has proven more willing to take responsibility for causing loss of civilian life than its coalition partners, including the UK, USA and France.

    December 11, 2018
    Legacy of IS scorched-earth tactics still devastates rural communities Sabotage of irrigation wells and other destruction amounts to war crimes Across Iraq, vast destruction deters hundreds of thousands from returning to rural areas

    As part of its brutal campaign against northern Iraq’s Yezidi minority, the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity when it sabotaged irrigation wells and destroyed other farming infrastructure, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    A year after Iraq’s government declared military victory over IS, Dead Land: Islamic State’s Deliberate Destruction of Iraq’s Farmland details how the armed group also burnt orchards, looted livestock and machinery and laid landmines in farming areas.

    September 07, 2018

    Following several nights of protests in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, and the use of excessive force by security forces including live ammunition, which resulted in the deaths of at least seven protesters, Razaw Salihy, Amnesty International’s Iraq Researcher, said:

    “We welcome Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s stated commitment to conduct an investigation into the deaths and violence during the protests. Amnesty International urges the Iraqi authorities to ensure that such an investigation be conducted in an independent, impartial and effective manner.

    “Security forces, for the second time since July, opened fire on protesters who were demanding improved public services, including water, electricity, better medical services and an end to corruption. The Iraqi authorities are obligated to respect the right to peaceful protests, and even if protesters are violent, only the minimum force necessary to address it can be used.

    August 03, 2018

    By Tamara Moussa Beirut, Lebanon.

    On December 10, 2017, Iraq declared its victory over the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), which had been attempting to establish a so-called Islamic Caliphate in the country since late June 2014. In what we can begin to call post-IS Iraq, thousands upon thousands of civilians bear scars from crimes the armed group committed against them and their loved ones. The legacy of these crimes is likely to affect, not only the survivors, but generations to come.

    IS wreaked havoc on the civilian population in Iraq, at times brutally targeting ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq. Four years on, Yezidi women and girls are left with harrowing physical and psychological trauma as a result of horrifying sexual violence and enslavement by the armed group, even as they continue to live with the angst of not knowing the fate and whereabouts of their relatives who went missing as a result of IS actions.

    July 19, 2018

    Peaceful protesters in southern Iraq and Baghdad fear authorities are deliberately disabling internet access before security forces attack and open fire on them, Amnesty International has learned.

    Trusted sources told the organization they believe internet access is being cut off to prevent them sharing footage and pictures of the excessive and unnecessary force used by security forces, including the use of live ammunition, in cities in the southern governorates of the country, especially Basra.

    “We are closely monitoring the escalating situation across southern Iraq and are extremely worried by reports that security forces are beating, arbitrarily detaining and even opening fire on peaceful protesters,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    April 17, 2018
    Report reveals collective punishment of women and children for being related, however distantly, to men linked to IS or fleeing IS strongholds Women and children in camps across Iraq deprived of food, water and other essentials and prevented from returning home Women subjected to rape and sexual exploitation

    Iraqi women and children with perceived ties to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) are being denied humanitarian aid and prevented from returning to their homes, with an alarming number of women subjected to sexual violence, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    March 28, 2018

    Responding to eyewitness accounts of journalists and demonstrators being subjected to physical and verbal attacks by security forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq where there have been widespread anti-austerity protests since Sunday, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “Eyewitnesses we’ve interviewed, including a teacher and a journalist, have described scenes of chaos in Erbil and Dohuk as Kurdish security forces and armed individuals in civilian clothes used violence to disperse peaceful protests.

    “Peaceful demonstrators have been beaten up and insulted. Journalists using cameras or mobile phones to document the protests have been attacked. This is totally unacceptable and a blatant attempt to clamp down on dissent.

    “The Kurdish authorities must immediately put an end to the beating, harassment and intimidation of demonstrators and journalists. They have a duty to ensure that everyone can exercise their right to peaceful protest without interference.”

    Background

    March 21, 2018

    Responding to an Associated Press report that Iraqi authorities have detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people accused of links to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) or other terror-related offences, and sentenced more than 3,000 of them to death, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “We are deeply alarmed by this report and the Iraqi authorities’ mass use of the death penalty and the courts’ reliance on torture-tainted “confessions” to secure convictions.

    “Amnesty International has documented the flawed screening process by Iraqi forces to which men and boys fleeing areas of conflict have been subjected. Thousands of them have been arbitrarily arrested, forcibly disappeared, and routinely subjected to torture and horrific conditions in detention. It is vital therefore that all those detained are held in officially recognized and supervised detention facilities.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    December 20, 2017

    Responding to reports made by the Associated Press that between 9000 to 11000 civilians have been killed in the battle for Mosul, Lynn Maalouf, Head of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle East said:

    “We are horrified, but not surprised, by these new figures. These numbers are directly in line with our previous findings that thousands of civilians were killed during the battle for Mosul - and that these deaths were caused not only by the so-called Islamic State group, but also by Iraqi and coalition forces. The AP’s estimate is more than ten times the figures reported by coalition forces, who have claimed responsibility for only 326 deaths. 

    “The failure of Iraqi and coalition forces to acknowledge and investigate civilian deaths in Mosul is a blatant abdication of responsibility. We are demanding transparency and an honest public account of the true cost to civilians from this war, as well as an immediate investigation by US-led coalition and Iraqi forces into the violations and unlawful attacks documented by Amnesty International and other independent groups during the battle for Mosul.

    December 15, 2017

    Responding to news that 38 people were executed in Iraq today for “terrorism” offences, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International said:

    “By carrying out yet another mass execution, the second in the span of three months, the Iraqi authorities have once again displayed a blatant disregard for human life and dignity.

    “In the wake of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of victory over the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) on 10 December, it is disheartening to see this week’s celebrations tainted with yet another mass execution. The victims of IS deserve justice, not mass executions carried out after deeply flawed and hasty trials.

    “Individuals who carry out deadly attacks against the civilian population should face justice, but carrying out executions is not the answer. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more than a term of imprisonment.

    “The death penalty should not be used in any circumstances and especially in Iraq, where the government has a shameful record of putting people to death after deeply unfair trials and in many cases after being tortured to ‘confess’.”

    September 25, 2017

    Responding to the news that at least 42 people were executed in Iraq today on “terrorism” charges, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International said:

    “Today’s mass execution is a shocking display of the Iraqi authorities’ resort to the death penalty to try to show they are responding to security threats.

    “There can be no doubt that individuals who carry out deadly attacks against the civilian population should face justice, but the Iraqi authorities need to recognize that carrying out executions is not the answer and will not make the country or its people safer.

    “The Iraqi authorities have a deplorable track record when it comes to use of the death penalty. In many cases previously people have been put to death after deeply unfair trials and in some cases after being tortured to ‘confess’.

    “The death penalty is an irreversible and reprehensible punishment that should not be used in any circumstances and there is no evidence to show that it deters crime more than any other means of punishment.”

     

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