Friday, September 30, 2022

Baghdad

UN: Impunity creates intimidation environment in Iraq

 UN: Impunity creates intimidation environment in Iraq

A protest in Nasiriyah city in October 2020. Al-Arabiya news image.

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – A report issued by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on Thursday mentioned that the continued impunity in Iraq in relation to attacks targeting protesters and activists creates an environment of fear and intimidation that restricts the freedom of expression.

The report published by UNAMI and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) indicated that compensations have been paid to families of most victims killed during protests took place in Iraq in 2019.

The report documented 26 incidents took place between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022 where unidentified militants attacked protesters with the purpose of suppressing opposition. The report is based on 27 individual interviews and meetings with judiciary officials in Baghdad and southern governorates.

The incidents include killing of one female, three killing attempts of a person, five violent assaults, a house raid, 14 improvised explosive device attacks, one kidnapping attack, one property destruction incident and many non-violent threats.

In particular, the report indicated that unidentified gunmen shot a prominent activist in Karbala and a protest coordinator in May 2021.

In October 2019, Iraq witnessed an unprecedented wave of protests spread in the capital and in southern parts of the country where protesters demanded change of the regime. But the movement was faced by a bloody repression that killed more than 600 people, and injured at least 30 thousands.

Although protests no longer occur as much as before, but many activists continued to demand those responsible for the suppression of protests and the killing of activists should be held accountable.

The government headed by Mustafa al-Kadhimi, which took office in May 2020, pledged to prosecute those involved in the killing of protesters and activists.

According to the report, the Iraqi authorities have taken limited steps to investigate the unlawful killing of protesters and activists.

The United Nations expressed concerns that judges, investigation officers and activists calling for accountability could be threatened, intimidated or violently attacked by individuals belong to or support armed groups.