Shafaq News / Amnesty International sent on Saturday an open letter to Iraq’s newly-inaugurated Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, which included several messages regarding human rights and the demands of protesters and displaced persons.
In a new open letter, Amnesty International said that the new government formed in Iraq must ensure that human rights are at the core of its agenda, and change its position on impunity for decades.
In a letter to new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, after the government Mustafa was sworn into office sworn on (7th of May), Amnesty International highlighted persistent concerns regarding the lack of accountability for the authorities ’violent response to last year's protests, and early this year, in the aftermath of the conflict against the armed group calling itself the "Islamic State"; likewise, concerns about the Covid-19 epidemic, and domestic violence.
"This new government has an opportunity to ensure that human rights are promoted and protected in Iraq, after years of horrific violations," said Razao Salehi, an Iraq researcher for Amnesty International.
"The Iraqi people have paid a heavy price for decades of impunity, and so far they have only repeated hollow promises by the authorities. We welcome the government's commitment to hold accountable those responsible for killing protesters, and to give priority to meeting the needs of the internally displaced people."
Salehi stressed " the need to turn these promises now into immediate and meaningful measures, including addressing social and economic grievances that the Iraqi people have suffered for so long."
Covid-19 Virus Epidemic and Domestic Violence
In response to the current Covid-19 virus epidemic, Iraq was partially closed, which resulted in an increase in domestic violence.
"The rise in cases of domestic violence reported by the media and civil society organizations - which in some cases led to the death of some women and a girl's exposure to serious injury - requires immediate action by the government to ensure that women and girls can access basic services, and provide protection for them. "
Respond to protests
Protests in the country late last year and early this year were met with a brutal response by the authorities, resulting in the unlawful killing of hundreds of people, and thousands of injuries.
According to Amnesty International research, security forces, including elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), as well as unidentified gunmen, have largely attacked peaceful protesters, with live ammunition, hunting rifles, and live bullets like snipers, tear gas, and water cannons .
Amnesty International called on the government to expedite the restraint of the security forces and to initiate comprehensive and independent investigations into the killings. The letter added” The authorities had months to change course away from the use of violent repression. The new government must reassure protesters that they have the right to expect that the security forces will protect them, not kill them and distort them arbitrarily, and that their government will address their grievances, especially their demands to meet their social and economic rights.
After the struggle against the "Islamic State"
The letter also addressed many issues related to the struggle against the Islamic State, including the collective punishment of internally displaced Iraqis who are considered to have a presumed connection with ISIS, and the fate of thousands of men and boys who were forcibly disappeared by the security forces during the conflict, impunity for human rights violations committed by all parties to the conflict, and crimes against ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq.