• Since the Arab Spring began, Iraqi security forces have clamped down violently against peaceful demonstrators who demanded better services and an end to corruption. Since late 2011, authorities have curtailed demonstrations by flooding Baghdad’s weekly protests with pro-government supporters and undercover security agents. Iraq remains exceptionally dangerous for journalists, with security forces routinely threatening or even beating and arresting media workers. Authorities also confiscate or destroy their equipment. Armed groups kill hundreds of civilians and security forces every year. Abusers are rarely brought to justice for violating the rights of Iraq's most vulnerable citizens – women and girls, minorities, members the LBGT community, and detainees.

  • Satellite image of heavy black smoke rising from a building in the town of Habash, Iraq, captures an arson attack in progress on the morning of September 17, 2014.
    Militias, volunteer fighters, and Iraqi security forces engaged in deliberate destruction of civilian property after these forces, following US and Iraqi air strikes, forced the retreat of Islamic State fighters (also known as ISIS) from the town of Amerli and surrounding areas in early September 2014, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Iraqi government should rein in the militias and countries participating in the fight against ISIS, including the United States and Iran, should ensure military operations and other related support in the fight against ISIS are not paving the way for such abuses.

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Reports

Iraq

  • Mar 27, 2015
    The United Nations Human Rights Council has missed a key opportunity to address war crimes and rights abuses by all sides to the conflict in Iraq. The council adopted a resolution on the Iraq conflict by consensus on March 27, 2015, that denounces atrocities by the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS), but failed to condemn the abuses by militias, volunteer fighters, and Iraqi forces.
  • Mar 25, 2015
  • Mar 24, 2015
  • Mar 18, 2015
    Militias, volunteer fighters, and Iraqi security forces engaged in deliberate destruction of civilian property after these forces, following US and Iraqi air strikes, forced the retreat of Islamic State fighters (also known as ISIS) from the town of Amerli and surrounding areas in early September 2014, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Iraqi government should rein in the militias and countries participating in the fight against ISIS, including the United States and Iran, should ensure military operations and other related support in the fight against ISIS are not paving the way for such abuses.
  • Mar 17, 2015
    Iraqi forces are currently fighting to recapture Tikrit, an encouraging sign after months of uncertainty about whether the government could retake command of the city from the extremist Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
  • Mar 12, 2015
  • Mar 5, 2015

    In the face of massive human rights abuses, the Human Rights Council has a responsibility to be part of the solution. It needs to resist the temptation to retreat into political and regional factionalism, to undermine the independence of your Office, High Commissioner, invoke selectivity to deflect attention from situations demanding international attention, or engage in procedural tactics to silence debate.

  • Mar 4, 2015
    Iraqi forces fighting to recapture the city of Tikrit from the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) should protect civilians from revenge attacks by pro-government militias. In accordance with the international laws of war, all fighting parties should take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to the civilian population.
  • Feb 26, 2015
    Iraqi Kurdish forces have confined thousands of Arabs in “security zones” in areas of northern Iraq that they have captured since August 2014 from the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Kurdish forces for months barred Arabs displaced by fighting from returning to their homes in portions of Ninewa and Erbil provinces, while permitting Kurds to return to those areas and even to move into homes of Arabs who fled.
  • Feb 25, 2015