• Iraq’s human rights situation has worsened since January 2014, when armed clashes between government and insurgent forces enveloped the mostly Sunni Anbar province. The crisis deteriorated further in June, when an array of Sunni armed groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), launched a major offensive, taking control of the cities of Mosul and Tikrit as well as other areas. By July the violence had displaced more than one million Iraqis, according to UN figures. Serious violations by ISIS have included abductions and mass executions, and persecution of Iraq’s ethnic and religious communities. The government has also committed serious abuses, including mass executions of Sunni prisoners, and kidnappings and summary executions by security forces and government-backed Shia militias. The government in June issued new media guidelines that violate Iraq’s obligation to protect free expression. Both ISIS and government-aligned Shia militias are apparently using children under 18 in their forces.
  • Military vehicles pass as Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters man a checkpoint north of Mount Sinjar, Iraq on December 20, 2014.
    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.

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Reports

Iraq

  • Mar 3, 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 25, 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 18, 2015
    Six months and 16,000 airstrikes into the campaign to defeat the Islamic State, with less than 1% of the territory it held in Iraq recovered, an honest accounting leads to only one conclusion: The U.S.-led strategy is failing.
  • Feb 15, 2015
    Abuses by militias allied with Iraqi security forces in Sunni areas have escalated in recent months, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Feb 15, 2015
  • Feb 10, 2015
    The US-led campaign against Islamic State isn’t working. It won’t unless it addresses Shia sectarianism in Iraq and Assad’s atrocities in Syria.
  • Feb 2, 2015
    Unlawful deaths in Iraq skyrocketed in 2014 as emboldened militias and security forces carried out unfettered abuses against civilians and the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) brutally took thousands of civilian lives, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015.
  • Dec 30, 2014
    It’s been a year of searing images of horrifying mass civilian injury and death, from Gaza to eastern Ukraine. The world must set standards to curb resort to weapons with wide-area effects where many civilians are at risk.
  • Dec 14, 2014
    Iraq’s prime minister should order stays of execution for one rival of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and an associate of another.
  • Dec 12, 2014
    Chairman Wolf, Chairman McGovern, members of the Commission: thank you for inviting me to testify today. This is an important hearing. I would like to share some insights from my recent trip to Iraq where the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, is one, but not the only entity, perpetrating gross and widespread violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.