Iraqi official says suicide rates in 2021 alarming

Commission member Ali al-Bayati told local media outlets that there had been three times as many cases of suicide between January and August of 2021 compared to previous years.
A picture shows young Iraqis cooking meals during anti-government sit-in in the Iraqi capital Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square. (Photo: AFP)
A picture shows young Iraqis cooking meals during anti-government sit-in in the Iraqi capital Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square. (Photo: AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A member of Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights on Sunday reported an alarming increase in the rate of suicide across the country over the past eight months.

Commission member Ali al-Bayati told local media outlets that there had been three times as many cases of suicide between January and August of 2021 compared to previous years.

He attributed the phenomenon to decades of financial adversity--linked with government corruption and economic mismanagement--, trauma from years of omnipresent violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the socioeconomic instability it brought with it.

Bayati called for the need to protect people who go through trauma-inducing disasters and the development of rapid intervention when someone attempts suicide.

He also claimed narcotics are one of the causes of suicide and called for campaigns to raise awareness about the danger of consuming illicit substances and providing medical and psychological treatment for drug users.

He affirmed that tackling Iraq's lingering economic crisis is a key element of the work that needs to be done to such incidents.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) reported on Oct. 2020 that it had so far recorded 309 suicide cases across the country 2020. The body also mentioned that it had recorded 594 suicide cases in 2019.

Read More: Iraqi human rights commission reports 309 suicide cases in 2020, calls for 'urgent' measures

Over seventeen years since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, most parts of Iraq suffer from a chronic lack of basic services like electricity and clean water, inadequate infrastructure, compounded by widespread corruption, high unemployment rates, poverty, and regular insurgent attacks by terrorist groups.

Corruption and mismanagement within Iraq’s government institutions remain a challenge and obstacle for civilians hoping for stability to come to the country.

Iraq has one of the world’s largest oil reserves and is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).