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Extrajudicial Killings, Enforced Disappearances Go Unpunished

(Beirut) – The Iraqi government failed in 2021 to deliver on promises to hold to account those responsible for the abuse of protesters, activists, journalists, and critics of political elites and the Popular Mobilization Forces, Human Rights Watch…
A woman casts her vote in the general elections on October 10, 2021 at a polling place in Baghdad.
News

Struggle to Survive Amid Devastation, Property Destruction

(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
News

Urgent Need to Improve Accessibility Before Upcoming Elections

(Beirut) – People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a…
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

Displaced Iraqis’ Rights Trampled Repeatedly

(Beirut) – The Iraqi army has unlawfully evicted dozens of families from a village north of Baghdad since July 2021 in an apparent family feud involving a government minister, Human Rights Watch said today. The 91 families from al-Aetha, a village in…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News

Human Rights Watch Introduces Country Index Based on Laws, Policies

(Beirut) – Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should outlaw the violent discipline of children, Human Rights Watch said today, introducing an index categorizing countries in the region based on their laws and policies. The MENA…
2020 Dadu Shin for Human Rights Watch
News

Appeals Court Should Consider Flagrant Irregularities

(Beirut) – A court in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq sentenced three journalists and two activists to six years in prison on February 16, 2021, in deeply flawed proceedings, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities continue to hold two other…
Families of the journalists and activists on trial on February 16, 2021, sitting outside the Erbil District Court of Appeal.
News

Others Face Deportation Decisions

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have deported at least four Yemeni asylum seekers registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and have issued deportation orders against others who made asylum claims, Human Rights Watch…
A Yemeni asylum seeker who arrived in Jordan in 2014, overlooks the city in the neighborhood of Abu Nseir, North of Amman, Jordan on March 25, 2021.
News

Lax Oversight and Weak Safety Net Unfairly Penalize Poor

(Amman) – An alarming number of Jordanians end up in prison each year solely for failing to repay their loans, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Imprisonment for debt is a clear violation of…
A man looks out from behind the bars of a prison building
News

Important Step, but More Action Needed to Rein in Continued Attacks

(Beirut) – On February 15, Iraqi authorities detained at least four men, with alleged ties to a unit within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashad, formally under the control of the prime minister) who are alleged to have killed at least four…
Ali Naseer Alawy, after armed masked men beat him and used an acid mixture to try to remove a tattoo on his arm.
News

Unfair Trial on Vague Charge of ‘Acts Against a Foreign State’

(Beirut) – The decision of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court to sentence a Jordanian resident of the UAE to 10 years in prison in October 2020 was based entirely on peaceful Facebook posts criticizing Jordan’s government, Human Rights Watch said…
Ahmed Etoum
News

Improved Trials Should Be Replicated

(Beirut) – A special committee of judges to adjudicate cases of children in detention in Iraq for alleged links to the Islamic State (ISIS) during the first half of 2020 appeared to comply with international human rights standards better than other…
201903TCT_ChildrenOfISIS_button
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British Authorities Have Dismal Record of Addressing War Crimes

(London) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s decision to close a preliminary examination of alleged war crimes by British forces in Iraq is likely to fuel the perception of a double standard in international justice, Human Rights…
News

Lawmakers to Decide on Abusive Cybercrimes Measure

(Beirut) – Iraqi lawmakers are considering a draft law on information technology crimes that could be used to stifle free expression, Human Rights Watch said today. Free speech is already under attack in Iraq, and on November 23, 2020 lawmakers…
The opening session of Iraq’s new parliament on September 3, 2018 in Baghdad, Iraq.
News

Government Should Show Progress on Pledge to Locate Victims

(Beirut) – Iraqi authorities should fulfill a commitment to locate victims of enforced disappearance and ensure that those responsible are held accountable, Human Rights Watch said today. Since taking office in May 2020, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-…
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News

Unlawful Action Allegedly Politically Motivated

(Beirut) – Kurdish authorities have unlawfully closed two offices of a private media outlet, NRT, for over a month, apparently for covering protests and for broadcasts critical of the ruling party, Human Rights Watch said today. The Kurdish…
The NRT headquarters in Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
News

Free Expression Under Assault

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities should immediately release and drop abusive charges against Emad Hajjaj, a cartoonist, Human Rights Watch said today. Jordanian authorities arrested Hajjaj on August 26, 2020, for publishing a satirical…
Emad Hajjaj
News

Teachers’ Syndicate Board Released; Others Still Held

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have exploited the country’s Covid-19 pandemic to forcibly disperse public protests against the arbitrary closure of the country’s Teachers Syndicate and mass arrests of its leadership, Human Rights Watch said today…
 Jordanian police block a road in front of protestors in Irbid, north of Jordan on August 1, 2020.
News

Hundreds of Protesters Dead Since October 2019; No High-Level Prosecutions

This version of the news release has been updated to indicate that the 560 killed during the demonstrations includes protesters and security forces. (Beirut) – Unidentified gunmen have since August 14, 2020, assassinated two protesters and…
Protesters take part in an anti-government demonstration outside the provincial council building in Basra, Iraq, August 17, 2020. 
News

Latest Escalation in Media Restrictions

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have used a sweeping gag order, harassment, and arrests to limit media coverage of ongoing protests stemming from the arbitrary closure of the Jordanian Teachers’ Syndicate on July 25, 2020, Human Rights Watch said…
Thousands of Jordanian teachers march from the governorship building to the Professional Unions Complex to demand a reversal of the decision to close the Teachers Union, in Irbid, Jordan on August 01, 2020.
News

Arbitrary Gag Order on Traditional and Social Media

(Amman) – Police raided the Jordan Teachers Syndicate headquarters in Amman and 11 of its branches across the country, shuttered them, and arrested all 13 syndicate board members on July 25, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. Attorney General Hassan…