The targeting of civilians by armed insurgents in Iraq is a cruel and unjustifiable breach of the most basic principles of humanity. Dozens of Iraqis have been killed in the past week alone and many others injured in a number of incidents involving suicide car bombings and other attacks on civilians.
Dozens of Iraqis have been killed in the past week alone and many others injured in a number of incidents involving suicide car bombings and other attacks on civilians. In this recent wave of wanton violence, four Iraqi aid workers were stabbed to death on Tuesday near Najaf. Coordinated attacks on five churches in Baghdad and Mosul on Sunday claimed the lives of 11 civilians, and a Turkish truck driver was brutally executed on Monday. Some 70 Iraqis were killed on July 28 near a police recruitment center in Baquba, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad.
“Many Iraqi political and religious leaders have rightly condemned these atrocities,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. “They recognize that there can be no justification for this wanton killing of civilians.”
Armed insurgents’ increasing attacks on “soft targets” like civilians have created a climate in which many Iraqis are unwilling to speak out for fear of becoming targets themselves.
“Iraqis have suffered brutality for far too long,” said Whitson. “They deserve a clear break from this arbitrary violence.”
Human Rights Watch noted that these attacks on civilians are clearly proscribed by international humanitarian law. International law prohibits attacks on civilians regardless of the purpose of the attack or the political sympathies of the victim.
In affirming this basic principle, Human Rights Watch reiterates its neutrality with respect to the ongoing conflict between Iraqi insurgents and U.S.-led forces in the country. Insofar as an armed conflict is underway, however, Human Rights Watch insists on respect by all sides for the basic principles of international human rights and humanitarian law.