Iraq: GCHR’s 19th Periodic Report on Human Rights Violations in Iraq


This is the nineteenth periodic report issued by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) since January 2020, documenting the human rights situation in Iraq. It covers the recent elections that took place on 10 October 2021, the peaceful protests taking place in the country, harassment of civil society activists, journalists and the media, as well as exposing the practise of torture against several citizen.

Violations and attacks during Iraqi elections

On 10 October 2021, legislative elections were held in Iraq with the participation of about 41% of the total number of voters, which amounted to 25 million people. During the voting process, some election centres witnessed several violations and attacks against observers and attempts to defraud, entrap and intimidate some voters.

Observers reported that voters at Al-Tamim electoral centre in Khan Bani Saad sub-district in Diyala Governorate, eastern Iraq, were pressured to elect a specific candidate.

Also, gunmen attacked and wounded a political activist in the Byara sub-district located within the Hawraman‏ area in the Halabja Governorate in northern Iraq.

On 03 October 2021, armed men affiliated with a political party attacked the house of a citizen who refused to hang an election banner on his house, as one of his protest mechanisms, and he was wounded by a gunshot.

On the day following this incident, 04 October 2021, another group attacked another citizen who also refused to hang an election banner on his workplace, only to then have the building be bombed with a sound grenade.

The Iraqi authorities recorded at least 77 violations in the election process, ranging from attempts to intimidate, entice, threaten and attack technical and administrative staff. These violations occurred in the Governorates of Baghdad, Nineveh, Diyala, Kirkuk, Basra, Anbar, Salah Al-Din, Erbil, Wasit and Diwaniyah.

The authorities announced that the violators had been referred to the judicial committees that were formed by the Supreme Judicial Council in preparation for taking legal measures against them.

Some of the parties that emerged from the October 2019 protests have achieved positive results. The Emtidad Movement, headed by the former civil society activist and deputy in the new parliament Alaa Al-Rikabi, achieved nine parliamentary seats, including his own.

After the results were announced the next day, a group of political parties and armed groups challenged the election results, and Iraqis fear that these objections will turn into armed clashes between political parties in Iraq.

Political targeting operations