Iraq: Gulf Centre for Human Rights launches report on “Patterns of Torture in Iraq”


On 05-October-2022, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) launched a report entitled “Patterns of Torture in Iraq” which focuses on the main patterns of torture in Iraq since the beginning of the widespread peaceful demonstrations that erupted across the country on 01 October 2019. The report also addresses a list of practical and urgent recommendations to the Government of Iraq in order to end the cycle of impunity currently enjoyed by perpetrators of torture.

The report was launched at an online event on the margins of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 51st session, co-hosted by Amnesty International and the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR). 

GCHR’s Executive Director Khalid Ibrahim said, “We have two chronic problems in Iraq, which is my country. The first one is that torture is systematic in some places of detention… Then you have another problem with impunity.” Furthermore, he added, the “judiciary is not up to international standards of due process and fair trial.” He said, “Authorities should implement a very clear legal framework that will help end torture and gain the trust of the people.” He added, “No circumstances whatsoever will justify torture.”

At the event, IOHR Executive Director Mustafa Sadoon pointed out that, “We think that all confessions taking place in Iraq are extracted under torture, and none of them are real.” He noted that most people would admit to anything under torture. IOHR has documented numerous violations in prisons, including torture, and monitors must wait weeks before they are granted permission to carry out inspections, if at all.

Based on an analysis of the Iraqi legal system’s shortcomings in preventing, investigating and remedying the perpetration of torture, along with witness testimonies and individual case studies documented by GCHR, the key patterns of torture that emerge are: the systematic perpetration of torture in places of detention; the fostering of a culture of impunity through a reliance on forced confessions and a lack of effective investigations into allegations of torture; and the targeting of women and the LGBTIQ+ community. 

This report by GCHR adds to and builds upon the recent spotlight that has been cast by UN reporting mechanisms on grave human rights abuses in Iraq. In the first half of 2022, Iraq came under the scrutiny of the UN Committee Against Torture and the UN Human Rights Committee which concluded that torture remains a widespread and systematic practice in Iraq that takes place against a backdrop of socio-political turmoil characterised by the oppression of human rights defenders, members of wider civil society and minority groups by state and non-state actors. 

This report is the latest instalment in GCHR’s series of reports documenting patterns of torture in the Gulf region.

Download the report by clicking HERE.