Endless Torment

The 1991 Uprising in Iraq And Its Aftermath

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Saddam Hussein's record of brutally suppressing even mild dissent is well-known. When the March 1991 uprising confronted his regime with the most serious internal challenge it had ever faced, government forces responded with atrocities on a predictably massive scale. The human rights repercussions continue to be felt throughout the country. In their attempts to retake cities, and after consolidating control, loyalist forces killed thousands of unarmed civilians by firing indiscriminately into residential areas; executing young people on the streets, in homes and in hospitals; rounding up suspects, especially young men, during house-to-house searches, and arresting them without charge or shooting them en masse; and using helicopters to attack unarmed civilians as they fled the cities. One year later, the fate of thousands of Kurds and Shi'a who were seized during the suppression of the uprising remains unknown. While many are believed to be in detention, the government has provided little information about their location and legal status. The rebels also committed gross abuses during the uprising, summarily executing suspected members of the security forces, including many who were in custody.
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