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Hopes for Accessible Voting on Election Day Dashed

In the weeks leading up to the October 10 parliamentary elections, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) promised to take steps to ensure people with disabilities could vote. But on election day, videos circulated suggested IHEC’s…
A man helps his mother as she casts her ballot during the parliamentary elections in Basra, Iraq on October 10, 2021.
News

Clearer Standards and Vetting Can Help Protect Survivors

Controversy swirled last week around the award-winning film Sabaya, which covers the dramatic rescue of abused Yezidi women abducted and enslaved by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. At the heart of the issue is how to obtain informed…
A 22-year-old Iraqi Yezidi woman carries her 2-year-old son at her home in al-Hasakeh, northeastern Syria, on November 23, 2020.
News

Progress Toward Accessibility Ahead of Elections, but Gaps Remain

Next week, Iraq will hold parliamentary elections, but many people with disabilities are effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places. Iraq, plagued by decades of violence and war, has one…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018.
News

The Government Should Follow Through on Pledges

Since I started covering Iraq for Human Rights Watch in 2016, enforced disappearances have been one of my main areas of research because, sadly, they are common. So I was heartened when Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, shortly…
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News

Lack of Action After Torching of TV Station Raises Fresh Fears for Reporters’ Safety

A well-known TV station in Baghdad was torched by protesters after it broadcast a music concert during Ashura, a Shia holy day which was underway at the time. The offices of Dijlah TV station, which has …
The office of Dijlah TV station in Baghdad was badly damaged after it was torched by protesters on August 31, 2020.
News

Kurdistan Region Authorities Squelch Protest, Make Pre-Emptive Arrests

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRI) authorities have just hammered another nail into the proverbial coffin of free expression in Iraq, arresting dozens in an effort to prevent a planned protest. According to a journalist  and two teachers from…
A view of the city of Dohuk in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
News

Afro, Indigenous Communities Especially at Risk

  Internally displaced people in Colombia often live in overcrowded conditions with limited access to water and food. These families, who fled violence in their home regions and often struggle economically, face further risk from Covid-19.…
A photograph sent to Human Rights Watch showing the living conditions of a displaced indigenous community in Buenaventura, Colombia. Their limited access to water and health services means that Covid-19 could spread quickly through the community.
News

UN Report Finds Unfair Trials, Torture, Overreliance on Confessions

Over the past two years, Iraqi courts have processed more than 20,000 terrorism cases against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects, including hundreds of children. But a new United Nations report finds that far from…
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News

Government Should Stop Abuses Against Protesters

As protests in Iraq enter their third month, the numbers of arrests, abductions, and killings of protesters continue to rise. But instead of protecting the demonstrators mostly peacefully protesting on Iraq’s streets, some security…
Protesters gather while security forces close River Street during ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad, Iraq, December 10, 2019.
News

Netherlands Remained Silent Over Role in 2015 Airstrike For Four Years

Recent news reports have exposed Dutch involvement in an airstrike in Iraq in June 2015 that killed at least 70 civilians, with the Minister of Defense finally admitting on November 5, 2019 that the ministry had known about the deaths…
Royal Netherlands Air Force F- 16 military fighter jets participating in NATO's Baltic Air Policing Mission operates in Lithuanian airspace during a Ramstein Alloy air force exercise, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
News

Iraq’s Allies Should Condemn Lethal Crackdown by Security Forces

Today the UN Human Rights Council will hold a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session to examine Iraq’s human rights records. The rash of killings of protestors by Iraqi security forces over the past month should at the front of…
Iraqi security forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.
News

Government Should Pursue Full Investigations, Fair Trials

The Australian government is taking an important step by helping eight Australian children of suspects of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) return home from northeast Syria. The children were held for months without charge under horrific…
Rusafa Central Criminal Court in Baghdad.
News

Iraqi Posted Photos of Himself with Dismembered Corpses

On February 19, a Swedish court convicted a former Iraqi officer for war crimes against Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters in Iraq. The evidence was pictures and videos he had posted on Facebook of himself with the bodies of…
A member of the Iraqi security forces walks past a wall painted with the black flag commonly used by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq, January 8, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
News

Restrictive Camps Raise Concerns for Humanitarian Agencies

The final pocket of Islamic State (ISIS) territory in Syria is being retaken as we speak, and for the first time, Iraqi authorities are explicitly addressing the fate of the suspected Iraqi ISIS fighters and their families who remain…
Iraqi Security Forces stand guard at the gate of a camp holding families of men suspected of being ISIS affiliates in Bartalla, east of Mosul, Iraq July 15, 2017.
News

Australian Report on US-led Coalition A Positive Step, but Questions Remain

It is well known that civilians have been killed during the US-led coalition’s military operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since 2014, but almost two years on from some of the heaviest bombing in the cities of Mosul and Raqqa,…
Smoke rising from west Mosul where Iraqi Security Forces are fighting Islamic State fighters to retake the city. © May 8, 2017 Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
News

Iraq’s New Parliament Should Prioritize Passage of Domestic Violence Law

The horrific case of an Iraqi woman apparently murdered at home should prompt Iraq’s new parliament, once formed, to finally pass a draft domestic violence law which has been pending since 2015. According to Iraqi media and…
Demonstrators in Baghdad call International Women's Day a "day of mourning" in protest of Iraq's new draft Jaafari Personal Status Law.
News

Iraq Should Exhume Yezidi Mass Graves

Before Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters descended on Sinjar, Iraq in August 2014, the area was home to 360,000 Yezidis. Today, at least 90 percent of the Yezidi population has been displaced, after fleeing an ISIS onslaught…
Yezidis at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour, Dohuk province, August 10, 2014.
News

The Humanitarian Crisis’ Disproportionate Impact on Older People

I met Fernando Arvelo (pseudonym), a 74-year-old Venezuelan, at a soup kitchen in Cúcuta, the main Colombian city across the border from Táchira state in Venezuela. Fernando moved to Táchira from his home state – a 20-hour drive – soon after his wife,…
A 74-year-oldVenezuelan man eats lunch at a soup kitchen in Cúcuta, a Colombian city across the Venezuelan border, July 28, 2018.
News

The Government Should Take More Steps to Facilitate Return of Other Families

Four years after being forced to flee their battle-scarred town, the families of al-Baghdadi are finally home. Authorities have allowed a group of families back into al-Baghdadi, a town in Anbar governorate 180 kilometers…
Residents of Shahama camp speak with relatives through the camp fence.