A worrying number of rights violations took place ahead of the Iraq elections

A report by the Gulf Center for Human Rights highlighted attacks on civil society activists and the media, as well as torture against citizens.

The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) has documented a worrying trend of human rights violations that took place in Iraq before and during the recent elections that took place on October 10.

In his last report, GCHR highlighted the harassment of civil society activists, journalists and the media, as well as the use of torture against citizens.

Overall, authorities recorded at least 77 violations during the electoral process in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Basra, Erbil, Nineveh, Diyala, Anbar, Wasit and Diwaniyah.

During the voting process, which recorded a turnout of around 41%, some polling centers witnessed several violations and attacks on observers and “attempted fraud, entrapment and intimidation” of voters. .

It was reported that voters in the eastern Iraqi governorate of Diyala were forced to elect a specific candidate.

On October 3, armed men affiliated with a political party attacked the residence of a citizen who refused to hang the election banner of their candidate. The next day a similar incident was recorded.

Added to this was the targeting of political activists and candidates who participated in the elections. On October 8, gunmen shot at Sadir Al-Khafaji, an election candidate in the Karrada district of Baghdad. Al-Khafaji escaped without serious injury.

On September 30, Harith Jabbar, a judge survived an assassination attempt in Maysan Governorate. Azhar Hatem, a civil society activist, also survived a shooting attempt in Dhi Qar governorate, southern Iraq, days later.

On October 9, the body of a 16-year-old protester, Haider Mohammed Al-Zamili, was found in a river in the town of Diwaniyah.

GCHR reported receiving several disturbing cases of detainees being tortured in government prisons and detention centers.

Targeting of journalists also continued, despite assurances from the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to protect media freedom.

On October 8, Abbas al-Arkoazi, correspondent for Al-Baghdadiya TV, was arrested in Diyala governorate while covering the elections. The day before, journalist Ali Abdulzahra, who works for Deutsche Welle, disappeared under unknown circumstances.

On September 26, writer and political analyst Ali Al-Baydar informed GCHR that he was threatened with imprisonment by politicians for his critical views on social media.

Meanwhile, peaceful demonstrations and protests affecting all segments of Iraqi society have continued to take place across the country, as popular anger grows over the issues plaguing the country of corruption, restriction of public freedom to inferior public services.

As part of its recommendations, the GCHR called on the Iraqi government to “take full responsibility for protecting all protesters, journalists, human rights defenders and members of civil society”.

He also called for the strengthening of laws against sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as the authorities to “identify all perpetrators of kidnappings, torture and murder of human rights defenders, peaceful protesters and other activists. , and bring them to justice ”.

“The authorities must fulfill their constitutional obligations not to violate public freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” the report adds.

Source: TRT World

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