Gulf European Centre for Human Rights
GECHR calls for a UN investigation into the massacres of the Iraqi authorities against demonstrators
12th October 2019
According to Iraqi human rights groups, more than 530 protestors in Iraq were killed by security forces and Iranian-backed militias. The monitoring groups confirmed that at least 400 demonstrators were killed in Baghdad. Reports confirmed that at least 6000 people were injured and about 4000 people were arrested.
The unrest on Tuesday 1st October 2019 came after Iraqi activists asked citizens to protest against the authorities' repressive policy. Therefore, at least two protesters were killed – one in Baghdad and one in Nasiriyah – and hundreds of people were injured in clashes between police and protesters angry at unemployment, corruption, poor public services and Iranian intervention in the country.
The peaceful protests in Iraq took about one week, demanding an end to Iran's role in Iraq, an end to the presence of militias on the state pyramid, and combating corruption and resolving the unemployment crisis. However, Iraqi security forces and militias by communicating with top Iraqi state leaders such as President Barham Saleh, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and Parliament Speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi began using live bullets against protesters, resulting in death and injury to more than 6,500 people.
Social media platforms and Internet access have been blocked in the capital and other parts of the country, causing Iraqi activists to fear the authority's plan and militias to abduct and kill more peaceful demonstrators. Gulf European Centre for Human Rights on 3rd October 2019 reported that at least 30 people were killed by the Iraqi security forces and militias.
The United Nations has also called on the Iraqi authorities to exercise restraint. "Every individual has the right to speak freely, in keeping with the law," UN special representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said.
The Gulf European Centre for Human Rights (GECHR) condemned the Iraqi authorities for mistreating demonstrators through militias and other armed groups. Therefore, the Centre urges the United Nations in an immediate investigation involving all members of the Iraqi state, including the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic on the massacres committed by the Iraqi armed forces against the demonstrators, which resulted in the death of more than 500 people and this is a war crime. GECHR also calls for an emergency meeting to discuss the case of Iraqi demonstration and search for a human rights mechanism to hold perpetrators accountable.
The GECHR declares that the assassination and injury of hundreds of Iraqi citizens is a war crime, therefore the GECHR calls on international organisations and the international community to intervene immediately and hold all violators of the rights of citizens in Iraq accountable. The centre also accuses Iraqi authorities and militias of violating international humanitarian and human rights law by killing and torturing Iraqi protestors.