33 cases of assassination in Iraq since start of Iraq protests: IHCHR
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) announced its findings on Monday that there have been 33 cases of assassinations aimed at activists and journalists, since anti-government demonstrations began several months ago in the central and southern areas of Iraq.
Fadhil al-Gharawy, a member of the Commission, said in a statement issued on Monday, “The IHCHR has documented, through its detect and documentation teams,” numerous instances in which there have been assassinations that “targeted activists, protesters, and journalists, since demonstrations started at the beginning of October 2019.”
“There have been 33 cases of assassination and targeting attempts,” he stated. “Fourteen of the victims died as a result, while 19 were injured.” The majority of instances, he explained, occurred as people were returning home from the squares in which the protests occurred.
Al-Gharawy stated that the murder of the anti-government activists were carried out with “firearms that had silencers; Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs); and hand and sound grenades.” He described them as “serious indications of a clear and direct violation of the human right to life, security, freedom of expression, and peaceful protest.”
He also called upon “the government and the security forces in Iraq to intensify their efforts to protect the protesters and to safeguard their lives, while, at the same time, pursue those responsible for the assassinations and targeting of activists; bring them to justice; and announce, in full transparency, the results of their investigations.”
Iraq has been engulfed in anti-government protests for nearly three months, and over 500 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and demonstrators. Thousands of others have been injured.
News circulating on social media has accused pro-Iranian armed groups of being behind the targeting of protesters and activists.
The US government has also blamed pro-Iranian militias for suppressing the demonstrations and killing protestors.
The protests in Iraq reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, including high unemployment, particularly among youth; the dismal state of public services; and widespread government corruption.
Demonstrators are demanding that Iraq’s next prime minister be independent and someone who has never held a ministerial position in Iraq’s successive governments since 2003, when the US-led coalition toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Editing by Laurie Mylroie