Iraq: GCHR’s 26th Periodic Report on Human Rights Violations in Iraq


This report, issued by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), documents the human rights situation in Iraq during the past two months, including mass protests against the poor living conditions of citizens, the kidnapping of a prominent environmental activist, the attempted assassination of a human rights defender, and the killing of a well-known Iraqi woman blogger, in a shocking crime of gender-based violence.

Citizens demonstrate against deteriorated living-conditions

On 25 January 2023, thousands of citizens (main photo) demonstrated in front of the Central Bank of Iraq building located on Al-Rasheed Street in the centre of the capital, Baghdad, to protest against the high exchange rate of the dollar and the rise in food prices. The value of one dollar during the past weeks exceeded 1,700 dinars, after it had been less than 1,500 dinars, which led to chaos in the Iraqi market. Although Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani confirmed the government's intention to return the dollar exchange rate to its original level, this has not been achieved so far.

Prominent environmental activist kidnapped

On 01 February 2023, at 10:00 am, prominent environmental activist Jassim Al-Asadi was kidnapped by an unknown armed group in civilian clothes driving two cars. They took him out of his car five kilometres away from Baghdad, where he was headed. He was bound and taken away by his captors to an unknown destination.

Al-Asadi is a consulting hydraulic engineer who was born in 1957 in the depths of the central marshes of southern Iraq. He completed his engineering studies at the University of Technology in Baghdad in 1980. He is considered the most prominent defender of the Iraqi marshes, of which he has detailed information. He had a major role in having the marshes included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016. He is the managing director of the Al-Chibayish office of the Nature Iraq Organisation. Since 2008, he has organised and participated in many activities aimed at preserving the Iraqi marshes and supporting the local people, their way of life and their heritage.

Al-Asadi uses his Facebook page to post pictures of his activities in the Iraqi marshes, where he receives delegations and meets local people with whom he has close ties. On 16 January 2023, he wrote under the above picture the following: "With the rise in water levels in the Euphrates River, life is resurging in our marshes after severe and cruel suffering. Joy is drawn on the faces of our children despite their deprivation of education and health care. As a mercy to our beautiful environment, let's better manage and take care of it."