A special report, prepared by the Human Rights Office of UNAMI, outlines key human rights concerns regarding the demonstrations that occurred in Iraq from 1 to 9 October 2019.
UNAMI’s interim findings indicate that serious human rights violations and abuses have been committed during the recent protests. The report contains a set of recommendations and urges Iraqi authorities to take concrete steps to ensure accountability, to prevent human rights violations and to enable peaceful demonstrations in the future.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said:
“Iraq has come a long way, it is essential not to further undermine its many achievements. A climate of intimidation and fear is unworthy of Iraq’s potential as an open and democratic society. The UNAMI report highlights shortcomings and measures to prevent them in the future.”
Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert took note of today’s release of the Investigative Committee’s report:
“This is an important step towards accountability, and I urge that further steps be taken to prosecute and punish those responsible. This is of great importance as investigations, delivering accountability for perpetrators and redress for victims, also serve as critical tools of prevention and protection.”
UNAMI’s preliminary findings include credible reports of violations of the right to life, including deliberate killings of unarmed protesters and the excessive use of force by units deployed to manage the demonstrations.
The report also highlights concerns regarding the widespread use of repressive measures to limit publicly available information on the demonstrations as well as allegations of arbitrary arrests, threats and harassment. It furthermore calls on all demonstrators to exercise their right to assembly in peaceful and non-violent ways, in keeping with the law.
“The loss of life, serious injuries and harm resulting from the violence during the demonstrations was both tragic and preventable,” said Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office, Danielle Bell. “Concrete steps to enable peaceful assemblies and protect those participating should be a priority.”