Iraq: Iraq- The Gulf Centre for Human Rights mourns the death of prominent human rights defender Ammar Al Shahbander


It is with great sadness that the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) received news of the death of prominent human rights defender Ammar Shahbander. He was killed in the evening of 2 May 2015 during a terrorist attack on a popular café in Baghdad, in which innocent people were targeted. 

Ammar Shahbander was the Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Iraq (IWPR) and co-founded the Iraqi Peace Network “Peace com”. He worked tirelessly and with unwavering dedication for the promotion and protection of human rights and freedom of press in Iraq. He was a great supporter and friend of the GCHR, and his untimely death will be sorely felt by the human rights community. He is survived by his wife and four children to whom the GCHR extends its sympathies.

Reports confirm that his colleague, human rights defender and staff member of IWPR Emad Al-Shara'a, was wounded in the attack and currently is in the intensive care.

Human rights defenders in Iraq work in extremely dangerous conditions for the promotion of human rights risking death, imprisonment and torture by security forces or armed groups.  Many have sadly lost their lives.

The GHCR urges the authorities in Iraq to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders are free to carry out their peaceful and legitimate human rights work without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.