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Release All Kidnapped and Detained Peaceful Activists

(Beirut) – Eight organizations released the following statement today calling on the Iraqi government to investigate the detention of activists and others since the start of the 2019 protests and to free all those held arbitrarily for peaceful…
Protesters marching in Al-Tahrir Square Tunnel in Baghdad, Iraq.
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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

Total Security Force Killings Since Protests Resumed at Over 100

(Beirut) – Security forces have fired teargas cartridges directly at protesters in Baghdad, Iraq on numerous occasions since protests resumed on October 25, 2019, killing at least 16, Human Rights Watch said today. The dead are among the…
Protesters in Tahrir Square arrange the tear gas canisters that security forces fired at them in Tahrir Square in different patriotic constellations.
News

Freedom of Assembly Suppressed

(Beirut) – Kurdistan Regional Government security forces detained participants in December 2017 protests around Sulaymaniyah and forced them to sign statements promising not to criticize the government. The detained protesters were held for up…
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) headquarters in Ranya showing considerable damage following demonstrations from December 19-23, 2017, on the streets of the town. © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Officials on Both Sides Shutting Media Outlets

Violence between Iraq’s Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi government escalated after Kurds voted for independence in September. Yet despite their many differences, authorities on both sides have one thing in common – a fondness for…
Protesters attend a demonstration against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Sulaimaniya in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Dec. 18, 2017.
News

Annual Day Promotes Accountability for Attacks on the Media

For reporters at risk around the world – because they’re exposing corruption, covering conflict, or afflicting the comfortable – today matters: it’s the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. You’d think a group of professional…
Somali photojournalist runs for cover while reporting on fighting between the Somali government and African Union forces against the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, April 2012.
News

Refugee Crisis and Universal Jurisdiction Cases in Europe

What’s the basis for European courts to try atrocities committed in Syria and Iraq? What is universal jurisdiction? Does universal jurisdiction mean that every country can investigate any grave international crime committed in Syria and Iraq? What…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
News

Video, Q&A Highlight Cases Spurred by Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

(Brussels) – Human Rights Watch released a question-and-answer document and video on October 20, 2016 that highlight the groundbreaking investigations and prosecutions in European countries of people accused of kidnappings, ill-treatment, and torture in…
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Officials Cite Parent Organization’s Stances

(Beirut) – The closure of Al Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau by the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission is nothing but an effort to clamp down on freedom of expression. The commission should promptly reverse its decision and allow the bureau to operate…
The logo of Al Jazeera Media Network is seen at the International Television Programs Market event in Cannes on April 2, 2012.
News
How Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki plans to defeat the horribly abusive Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and other Sunni groups that have seized control of large swathes of Iraq remains unclear. And under his government’s new media regulations,…
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Emergency Decree Also Puts Pressure on Critical Reporting

(Baghdad) – Iraq’s new media guidelines are so vague as to be wide open to abuse. The guidelines unjustifiably restrict freedom of the press, including by requiring pro-governmental coverage. The government-run Communications and Media Commission (CMC)…
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Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
News

Security Forces Fail to Investigate, but Arrest Reporters for Defamation

(Baghdad) – Four journalists have been assassinated in Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Ninewa Province, since early October 2013. Iraqi security officials have said they were investigating the killings, the most recent on November 24, but have not arrested…
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Panama Releases Ex-CIA Figure Wanted for Rendition

(Milan) – Italy should continue its efforts to obtain justice for abuses by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), despite Panama’s decision to free a former CIA Milan station chief wanted by Italy. Media reports indicated that Panamanian…
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Licenses Suspended Amid Rising Death Toll, Civil War Fears

(Baghdad) – Iraq’s media commission should immediately reverse the license suspensions for ten satellite television stations and allow them to continue broadcasting. A senior official has admitted the suspension was not according to any law, nor could the…
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Government Critics, Journalists Arbitrarily Detained, Prosecuted for Criticizing Authorities

(Baghdad) – Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should stop arbitrarily detaining journalists, activists, and political opposition figures, and end its prosecution of journalists for insulting or defaming public figures. The Asayish…
News

How Iran's Crackdown on Rights Compelled One Man to Leave His Home

The Iranian activist Kaveh Kermanshahi was free on bail in 2010 when an Iranian court sentenced him to four years in prison for his work on Kurdish and women’s rights. Kermanshahi, who was 26 at the time, decided he couldn’t return to prison, where he had…
News

Articles Alleged Corruption in Security Agency

(Beirut) – The Erbil Appellate Court should immediately set aside the October 7, 2012, conviction of an independent journalist who reported on alleged corruption in the regional government’s security agency. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities…