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Iraq Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

The human rights situation in Iraq remains dire. Iraqi civilians face threats not only from the upsurge in violence as government forces, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and other armed groups battle for territory, but also from a systemic pattern of abuse at the hands of the Iraqi central government.

As the fighting continues, protection of civilians must be of paramount concern. An estimated 500,000 people were forced to flee their homes as Mosul fell, adding to the nearly half a million Iraqis displaced and over 5,5000 civilian deaths since ISIS’ expulsion of Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, Anbar governorate, in January 2014. Iraqi forces have indiscriminately shelled Fallujah, including on hospitals and in residential areas. ISIS has claimed responsibility for car bomb blasts in other parts of Iraq as retaliation for the government attacks. Now, Amnesty International has gathered evidence pointing to a pattern of extrajudicial executions of detainees by government forces and Shi’a militias in the Iraqi cities of Tal ‘Afar, Mosul and Ba’quba. Read more.

A consistent pattern of human rights violations by the Iraqi government has widely been seen as a significant factor in the widespread popular discontent. Thousands of detainees languish in prison without charge. Detainees are routinely held “incommunicado”, without access to family or legal counsel. Torture and ill-treatment occurs regularly and with impunity in prisons and detention centers. Many of those brought to trial are sentenced to long prison terms or to death after grossly unfair proceedings, in which convictions are based on “confessions” extracted under torture or other coercion. Such “confessions” are often broadcast on national television before trials have taken place. Watch Video: Iraq’s Lethal Confession Culture.

Iraq is the world’s third most prolific executioner, with hundreds of prisoners on death row and at least 169 executions in 2013. The surge in executions has continued in 2014.

Iraq Newsroom



September 4, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Husband of hunger-striking human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh arrested

Responding to the arrest in Iran this morning of Reza Khandan, the husband of prominent jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said: “First the authorities jail Nasrin Sotoudeh on bogus charges, then harass, intimidate and threaten her family and friends, …

August 23, 2018 • Press Release

IRAN: NAZANIN ZAGHARI-RATCLIFFE RELEASE ‘WELCOME NEWS AND A MUCH-NEEDED RESPITE’

Responding to news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been granted a three-day “furlough” release from Evin Prison in Iran, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said: “This is welcome news and a much-needed respite for Nazanin. “We hope two things will now happen – first, that this three-day period will be extended, but far more importantly …

July 30, 2018 • Press Release

Coroner’s findings on preventable death of Iranian asylum seeker on Manus Island must prompt government action

In response to today’s damning coronial inquest findings into the tragic death of Hamid Khazaei, an Iranian man who died in Australia in 2014 from an infection acquired in the Manus Island detention centre, Amnesty International’s Refugee Researcher Kate Schuetze, who was present at the Brisbane court today, said: “The Coroner today outlined a litany of errors …

June 13, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Arrest of prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is an outrage

The arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, is an outrageous attack on a brave and prolific human rights defender, Amnesty International said today. Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested at her home in Tehran this morning and transferred to the prosecutor’s office of Evin prison, according to her husband, Reza Khandan. In an …

April 29, 2018 • Report

Iran: New evidence reveals deliberate desecration and destruction of multiple mass grave sites

New evidence including satellite imagery, photo and video analysis show that the Iranian authorities are deliberately destroying suspected or confirmed mass grave sites associated with the 1988 massacre in which thousands of prisoners detained for political reasons were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed, according to a report released by Amnesty International and Justice for Iran today. Criminal cover-up: Iran destroying …

March 9, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: New evidence of appalling treatment of women human rights defenders held in Shahr-e Rey prison

Two women human rights defenders jailed for defending women’s rights and opposing the death penalty are being subjected to escalating ill-treatment in Shahr-e Rey prison, a former industrial chicken farm in Varamin, a town on the outskirts of Tehran, Amnesty International revealed. The organization is calling for the women’s immediate and unconditional release. Atena Daemi …

February 26, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Dozens of women ill-treated and at risk of long jail terms for peacefully protesting compulsory veiling

A warning by Iranian police that women could be jailed for up to a decade for joining protests against compulsory veiling has put dozens at immediate risk of unjust imprisonment and represents an alarming escalation of the authorities’ violent crackdown on women’s rights, said Amnesty International. More than 35 women have been violently attacked and …

February 12, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Authorities refuse to release Canadian-Iranian academic’s body for independent autopsy in “callous cover-up”

In response to reports that the Iranian authorities have said they will refuse to release the body of the Canadian-Iranian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami to his family unless there is an immediate burial and no attempt to conduct an independent autopsy, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty international’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa said: “The authorities’ …

January 10, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Easing of deadly drugs laws may spare hundreds from gallows

Responding to news today that Iran will implement amended drugs laws and remove capital punishment for some drug trafficking offenses, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said:

January 9, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Investigate reports of protester deaths in custody

The Iranian authorities must immediately investigate reports that at least five people have died in custody following a crackdown on anti-establishment protests, and take all necessary steps to protect detainees from torture and prevent any further deaths, Amnesty International said today.