Iraq: Fifth periodic report on violations during popular demonstrations


Despite the measures taken to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iraq, which resulted in a large number of people being forced to stay in their homes, a few dozen demonstrators continued to remain in the sit-in squares in order to ensure the continuity of the popular movement. Their goal is to put more pressure on the authorities, while expressing their aspirations for a prosperous and bright future for all people, without exception.

Protesters in Al-Tahrir Square, located in the centre of the capital, Baghdad (pictured above), which is the icon of the Iraqi sit-ins, observed the health protection requirements and worked to keep a few of the protesters in the sit-in tents, as did protesters in the sit-in squares of other Governorates. This is the fifth monthly report of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) for 2020, which documents continued violations in Iraq during popular demonstrations.

Targeted killing of human rights defenders

Human rights defenders and activists continue to be killed by unidentified gunmen, as the authorities fail to protect people from targeted killings.

On the evening of 09 May 2020, unidentified gunmen opened fire on prominent human rights defender Azhar Al-Shammari (picture on the left), near his house in the Sumer neighborhood in the center of Nasiriyah. He was hit with three bullets that seriously wounded him, especially in the abdomen, and led to his death in hospital the next day, on 10 May. Thousands participated in his funeral from Al-Haboubi Square in Nasiriyah.

He had predicted his own death hours before the assassination, when he posted on his Facebook page several photos (picture on the right) of protesters in Al-Tahrir Square in Baghdad, writing their wills, filled with sadness, who are being killed only because they want to restore their homeland. Above these pictures is written the hashtag #We_know_we_will_die.