Amnesty International criticizes human rights situation in Iraq and Kurdistan RegionKurdistan 07:54 PM - 2023-03-29
Amnesty International released its annual report for 2022
In a report on human rights, press freedom, and other freedoms in the Kurdistan Region, Amnesty International (AI) accused the security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of "suppressing freedom of expression, confessions under torture (related to ISIS), prohibiting free demonstrations and assemblies, and arresting activists and journalists."
Amnesty International released its annual report for 2022 on March 28, 2023. Its report on Iraq describes the transgressions committed by KRG security forces. The violations mentioned in the report are related to Masrour Barzani's ninth cabinet. Similarly, the US State Department recently criticized the KRG authorities in its annual report for having the worst deterioration in human rights and freedoms.
Amnesty International claimed: "The KRG security forces arbitrarily detain, interrogate, and imprison journalists, activists, and critics."
The report also includes Badinan detaineesThe detainees of Badinan and Shiladze, who were arrested by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) security forces, have gone on hunger strikes several times, as noted by the US State Department in its report.
In its report on the Kurdistan Region, AI notes: "Two journalists and three political activists went on hunger strike three times in 2022 in protest of their continued detention since August." "They were also convicted in February 2021 on charges related to national security, despite a decree issued by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in February reducing their sentences from five years to two years."
According to AI, "peaceful demonstrations were held in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah on August 6 last year to protest the KRG's delay in paying salaries and lack of job opportunities." However, KRG security forces used tear gas and plastic bullets, resulting in many casualties.
Twenty journalists are detainedThe report also mentions a reduction in journalistic freedom in the Kurdistan Region in 2022.
AI stated in its report that "around 20 journalists were held by security forces, the main security and intelligence agency of the Kurdistan Regional Government, for varied durations of time while covering protests."
"Last September, security forces detained a reporter for an opposition news outlet." He was covering a Turkish drone attack on Kurdistan Workers' Party fighters in the Erbil province. According to AI, he was released without charge after signing a pledge not to cover up similar incidents the next day.
Furthermore, AI reported that in October 2022, two journalists were detained by security forces near Erbil under the Misuse of Communications Devices Act of 2008, which has previously been used to prosecute people for writing critical articles about the authorities.
Tortured confessions obtained in prisonThe report by AI describes the forced trials and convictions of people arrested by security forces on suspicion of being ISIS terrorists. "A father in Erbil whose son was arrested on the aforementioned charge claimed at a press conference that in the KDP's Counter-Terrorism prison in Erbil, they raped his son with a Pepsi bottle, ruptured his testicles, and broke his shoulder."
AI has criticized the ISIS defendants' trials, stating that they are taking place in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, "despite substantial concerns about their right to a fair trial and the fact that their confessions are the result of extreme torture and there is no right to a proper legal defense."
16 women are murdered based on honorConcerning violence against women in the Kurdistan Region, AI reports that approximately 16 women were killed on charges of honor in the region last year.
Amnesty International also criticizes the Iraqi government and the KRG for failing to protect women and girls, stating that "gender-based violence in the Kurdistan Region and central Iraq is very limited in terms of their protection, the number of shelters belonging to the Ministry of Social Affairs is very limited, and the Kurdistan Region has witnessed the rise of the killing of women and girls by their relatives, fathers, and brothers because they have changed their religion or gender."
"Between January and March of that year, approximately 16 women and girls, all under the age of 15, were murdered by relatives in the Kurdistan Region. However, it appears that the true figure is much higher. "The majority of these homicides have not been the subject of independent, impartial government investigations," AI claims.
Human Rights Watch published a report on violations of human rights in the Kurdistan Region during the ninth cabinet. In addition, the US State Department condemned the KRG authorities in a report on human rights violations in the Kurdistan Region. The US Consulate in Erbil has also expressed its concerns on numerous occasions regarding abuses of human rights and limitations on free speech in the Kurdistan Region, particularly in this cabinet.
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