Amid continuing political instability and sporadic clashes between armed actors, dozens of people were killed and thousands more joined the 1.2 million people already internally displaced. Kurdistan Regional Government security forces repressed freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Impunity continued to prevail for past unlawful killings as well as for torture and other ill-treatment. Reports of gender-based violence increased while state-provided paths to protection remained minimal in both the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and central Iraq. Proposed legislation further threatened LGBTI people’s rights. Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people continued to face obstacles in accessing vital services and dignified, safe return to their areas of origin. Courts continued to hand down death sentences following unfair trials. The authorities failed to provide adequate support to marginalized communities most affected by droughts, heatwaves and prolonged sandstorms.


A new government was formed in October more than a year after parliamentary elections. The delay was caused by disputes between political parties allied to the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which are affiliated to Iraq’s central authorities and were designated as part of the Iraqi armed forces in 2016, and the “Sadr Bloc” of parliamentarians supporting popular cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, which won the majority of seats. The political impasse occasionally spilled over into armed clashes between rivals. After Muqtada Al-Sadr called on “Sadr Bloc” parliamentarians to resign in August, his supporters and members of the affiliated Saraya al-Salam militia stormed parliament in the Green Zone and clashed with PMU fighters using rockets, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, leading to tens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. Clashes between Muqtada Al-Sadr’s followers and PMU factions perceived as aligned with Iran spread to Basra city between late August and early September and led to at least four deaths.

Türkiye continued to carry out air strikes and shelling as part of its ongoing military operation targeting members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) based in northern areas of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I). The Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for attacks targeting locations of Kurdish Iranian opposition parties in Erbil governorate. Such attacks led to deaths and displacement.

Sporadic attacks by the armed group Islamic State, which targeted security forces’ barracks and checkpoints, continued in Anbar, Kirkuk and other governorates previously controlled by Islamic State. Media reported Islamic State abductions of at least 10 residents of Kirkuk and Diyala governorates, who were freed after their families paid ransoms.

Iraq Newsroom

May 29, 2023 • Press Release

Global: Misuse of Tear Gas Killing and Injuring Protesters Worldwide – Updated Interactive Website

The horrific misuse of tear gas by security forces during brutal crackdowns on protests in Iran, Peru and Sri Lanka last year are among many new incidents detailed in Amnesty International’s updated Tear Gas: An Investigation.

March 16, 2023 • Press Release

Child Detainees in Iran Subjected To Flogging, Electric Shocks And Sexual Violence In Brutal Protest Crackdown

Iran’s intelligence and security forces have been committing horrific acts of torture, including beatings, flogging, electric shocks, rape and other sexual violence against child protesters as young as 12 to quell their involvement in nationwide protests, said Amnesty International today.

August 30, 2022 • Report

Fleeing Afghans Unlawfully Returned After Coming Under Fire at Iranian and Turkish Borders

Iranian and Turkish security forces have repeatedly pushed back Afghans who attempt to cross their borders to reach safety, including by unlawfully opening fire on men, women and children, Amnesty International said today. In a new report, They don’t treat us like humans, the organization also documents numerous instances - mostly at the Iranian border - where security forces have shot directly at people as they climbed over walls or crawled under fences. Afghans who do manage to enter Iran or Turkey are routinely arbitrarily detained, and subjected to torture and other ill-treatment before being unlawfully and forcibly returned.

May 23, 2022 • Report

Death Penalty 2021: State-Sanctioned Killings Rise as Executions Spike in Iran and Saudi Arabia

2021 saw a worrying rise in executions and death sentences as some of the world’s most prolific executioners returned to business as usual and courts were unshackled from Covid-19 restrictions, Amnesty International said today in its annual review of the death penalty.

September 15, 2021 • Press Release

A Decade of Deaths in Custody Unpunished Amid Systemic Impunity for Torture in Iran

Iranian authorities have failed to provide accountability for at least 72 deaths in custody since January 2010, despite credible reports that they resulted from torture or other ill-treatment or the lethal use of firearms and tear gas by officials, said Amnesty International following yesterday’s reports of yet another suspicious death in custody.

September 1, 2020 • Report

Detainees in Iran flogged, sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of shocking human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, …

April 20, 2020 • Report

Death penalty 2019: Global executions fell by 5%, hitting a 10-year low

Saudi Arabia executed a record number of people in 2019, despite an overall decline in executions worldwide, Amnesty International said in its 2019 global review of the death penalty published …

February 26, 2019 • Report

Human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: A review of 2018

The international community’s chilling complacency towards wide-scale human rights violations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has emboldened governments to commit appalling violations during 2018 by giving them …

December 9, 2018 • Report

Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018

Women activists around the world have been at the forefront of the battle for human rights in 2018, Amnesty International said today as it launched its review on the state …

December 4, 2018 • Report

Iran committing crimes against humanity by concealing fate of thousands of slaughtered political dissidents

By concealing the fate and whereabouts of thousands of political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and secretly executed in prison 30 years ago, Iranian authorities are continuing to commit crimes …