Iraq: Sixth periodic report on violations during popular demonstrations

03.07.20

Introduction

Larger demonstrations have been renewed throughout Iraq, demanding the civil and human rights of citizens, and during the past month, sit-in squares in various Governorates were attacked and targeted. The security forces and armed groups continued their previous approach, arresting and kidnapping civil society activists. The peaceful demonstrators held various events and sit-ins that reflected the close solidarity between them. They also carried out relief activities to support the health sector in its response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This period witnessed many demonstrations and protests by citizens, many of whom hold temporary working contracts and are demanding to be appointed as permanent staff in order to improve their financial conditions. Demonstrations were also held in various cities across the Kurdistan region of Iraq against Turkish and Iranian military interventions, as well as to demand the payment of employees’ salaries. This sixth periodic report by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) documents the many violations which have occurred across the country.

Killing and kidnapping of academics

On the night of 10 June 2020, Dr. Ali Mezher Al-Ghazzi (picture on the left) was to the victim of an assassination attempt by an unknown armed group. He was taken to hospital for treatment but died of his injuries on 12 June 2020. Al-Ghazi, 60 years old, is a professor of history who teaches at many Iraqi universities. He supported the popular movement and used his Facebook page to reject sectarianism, spread social justice, and fight corruption.

On 24 November 2019, Dr. Majid Ibrahim Al-Dhafiri (picture in the middle) was kidnapped near his house at seven in the morning on Al-Badalah Street in the Al-Ghazaliya area in the capital Baghdad, by an unknown armed group. Dr. Al-Dhafiri is a well-known figure in the Ghazaliya district and works at Imam Ja'afar Al-Sadiq University, where his colleagues and students have made several gathering and campaigns calling on the authorities to uncover what happened to him (picture on the right).

Demonstrators arrested and attacked in Basra, which receives solidarity from other sit-in squares