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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



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 of human rights over the past year. The human rights group also warns that the actions of “tough guy” world leaders pushing misogynistic, xenophobic and …

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 against humanity, said Amnesty International in a damning report published today. The report Blood-soaked secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity …

November 30, 2018 • Press Release

Amnesty and Sofar Sounds partner for Write for Rights concert and letter writing event

On Saturday, December 8, human rights organization Amnesty International USA in partnership with live music events startup Sofar Sounds will host a powerful evening of collective action along with an intimate concert experience in New York City. The event, Write for Rights, is aimed at securing justice for women human rights defenders under threat and …

November 28, 2018 • Press Release

Amnesty International launches world’s biggest human rights campaign

Women human rights defenders around the world are facing unprecedented levels of abuse, intimidation and violence, said Amnesty International as it launched its global Write for Rights campaign, in a bid to shine a spotlight on brave women who have been harassed, jailed, tortured or even killed for their human rights work. Women continue to …

October 2, 2018 • Press Release

Iran: Victim of domestic and sexual violence, arrested as a child, is executed after unfair trial

Responding to the horrific news that 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Zeinab Sekaanvand was executed early this morning in Urumieh central prison, West Azerbaijan province, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand is a sickening demonstration of the Iranian authorities’ disregard for …

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 …