Iraq: GCHR’s 22nd Periodic Report on Human Rights Violations in Iraq

13.05.22

 This report released by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) monitors the human rights situation in Iraq for the first four months of 2022 in light of the political, security and social developments in the country, which followed the legislative elections that took place on 10 October 2021.

The report sheds light on several files, including assassinations and killings, attacks on civil society activists and journalists, in addition to the grave violations of children's rights in the country, and the use of the judiciary to target activists and restrict freedom of expression.

During the months following the elections, Iraq witnessed major developments, all related to the results of these elections and the political crisis that delayed the formation of the new government by more than seven months since the early elections, which came as a result of the protests that took place in the country in October 2019.

Attacks against civil society activists and peaceful demonstrators

Attacks against civil society activists, peaceful demonstrators and journalists continue, with the authorities showing severe leniency towards the people and groups that carry out these attacks, who are sometimes law enforcement agents.

On 08 January 2022, armed men attacked demonstrators in Wasit Governorate when they came out to demand accountability for the killers of the demonstrators and that armed parties and groups not be allowed to control government institutions in the governorate. This video clip, which was published by Member of Parliament Sajjad Salem on his Twitter account, shows armed men in military uniforms attacking the demonstrators and firing live bullets at them."

On 11 January 2022, riot police beat a group of student demonstrators in the capital, Baghdad, as shown in this video.

On 08 March 2022, armed men from the protection team of Member of Parliament Suha Al-Sultani attacked prominent civil society activist Dr. Dergham Majid Mahdi in Al-Qasim district, Babil Governorate. This video clip shows the moment of the serious assault on the doctor, who was on the verge of death had he not been rushed to the hospital.

In a press statement after the attack, the Babil Police Command said, "A comprehensive investigation has been opened to find out the circumstances of an attack on six demonstrators, including activist Dr. Dergham... Preliminary information indicates that the attack occurred by throwing stones, using sticks and firing live bullets... and that the losses were limited to five demonstrators being wounded with stones and sticks, and the sixth with a gunshot wound… everyone was taken to a hospital in the governorate for treatment, and the injury of activist Dr. Durgham was the most severe among them.”

On 16 March 2022, he left Al-Hilla Hospital and returned to his home. He is currently in good health and has returned to his peaceful activities.

GCHR has previously documented several reprisals against Dr. Dergham, the latest of which was documented in its 21st periodic report. On 12 January 2022, Dr. Dergham published a video on his Facebook page explained the circumstances of an arrest warrant issued against him by the Anbar Appeals Presidency. He went on 11 January 2011 by himself to surrender to the security forces of Babil Governorate, where he resides, but they asked him to wait and return to his home after a short detention. The security forces also arrested his fellow civil society activists, Alaa Al-Talaqani and Mohammed Al-Mansoori, near Al-Thawra Bridge, in the centre of Al-Hilla, the capital of Babil Governorate, during their participation in protests calling for the governor’s dismissal. They were released hours after their arrest.

On 14 January 2022, civil society activist Haider Al-Salihi was beaten with sticks and sharp instruments by an unknown group in the Dhi Qar Governorate, southern Iraq. According to information confirmed by local sources, unknown persons in a car intercepted the car of Al-Salihi, who is active the governorate’s demonstrations, in the old Iskan Street in the centre of Nasiriyah, the governorate’s capital, and attacked him. He was taken to the hospital for treatment after sustaining several fractures and injuries to his body.