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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

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
News

Ensure Transparency, End Institutional Care

Serbia has taken a positive step to better protect people from Covid-19 by agreeing to release data on the total number of Covid-19 infections and deaths inside social care institutions. People inside institutions are some of the most at-risk during…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
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

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

Lead Poisoning Victims Await Justice, Compensation

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. October 24 is United Nations Day, marking the day the UN Charter officially came into effect in 1945. The Charter includes the commitment to protect human rights. But on the…
Houses in Kosovo
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

Impunity Hampers Sustainable Peace

This week marks 20 years since the end of the Kosovo war. What began as systematic Serbian state oppression led to attacks by an ethnic Albanian armed group, a vicious government response, and 78 days of NATO airstrikes. …
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News

UN Committee Finds New Evidence of Violence in Institutions

A recent review of Serbia finds that the government is failing to protect women with disabilities in institutions from violence. In its report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) also…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
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

Roma Were Exposed to Toxic Lead in UN-Run Camps

  Yesterday, 55 Members of the European Parliament wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, expressing dismay at the UN’s failure to remedy harm inflicted on ethnic minorities in northern Kosovo following the end of the war…