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Iraq

    September 25, 2017

    Responding to the news that at least 42 people were executed in Iraq today on “terrorism” charges, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International said:

    “Today’s mass execution is a shocking display of the Iraqi authorities’ resort to the death penalty to try to show they are responding to security threats.

    “There can be no doubt that individuals who carry out deadly attacks against the civilian population should face justice, but the Iraqi authorities need to recognize that carrying out executions is not the answer and will not make the country or its people safer.

    “The Iraqi authorities have a deplorable track record when it comes to use of the death penalty. In many cases previously people have been put to death after deeply unfair trials and in some cases after being tortured to ‘confess’.

    “The death penalty is an irreversible and reprehensible punishment that should not be used in any circumstances and there is no evidence to show that it deters crime more than any other means of punishment.”

     

    September 21, 2017

    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution passed today aimed at holding the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) accountable for war crimes and human rights abuses in Iraq falls short of what is needed to stamp out a dangerous culture of impunity and could fuel further abuses, said Amnesty International.

    The unanimously adopted resolution, tabled by the United Kingdom, establishes an "Investigative Team" of experts to support the Iraqi government in collecting, preserving and analyzing evidence of serious crimes. However, the resolution crucially fails to include any provisions to ensure accountability for crimes committed by Iraqi forces and others responsible for grave violations of international law, including war crimes, during the conflict.

    “Initiatives that can help ensure justice for victims of atrocities by IS members in Iraq are of course welcome news. But, this flawed resolution sends a dangerous message to all the other parties to the conflict who have also committed serious violations and crimes that they are above justice,” said Sherine Tadros, Head of the UN Office in New York for Amnesty International.

    July 12, 2017
      Responding to statements made by spokespeople for the US-led coalition and the Iraqi forces, Lynn Maalouf Head of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle-East said:   “We are disappointed by the dismissiveness with which the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces have treated our report depicting the immense civilian suffering in west Mosul.   “At the bare minimum, governments who are part of the coalition as well as Iraqi forces must ensure a prompt, impartial investigation into the alleged violations we have documented.   “We hope to see an immediate public acknowledgement of the immense cost to civilians that this battle has caused as well as a transparent response from the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces to the violations and attacks documented by Amnesty International in its report on the west Mosul operation.   “Even wars have laws and there must be accountability when these are violated..  
    July 11, 2017

    Iraq: Battle between US-led coalition, Iraqi forces and Islamic State creates civilian catastrophe in west Mosul

    June 08, 2017

    (Beirut, June 8, 2017) – The expected battle involving Iraqi and US-led coalition forces against the Islamic State (ISIS) in west Mosul’s Old City poses a considerable threat to civilians and civilian objects, international humanitarian and human rights organizations said today. All warring parties should cease using explosive weapons with wide area effects and inherently indiscriminate weapons in densely populated west Mosul. ISIS’s unlawful use of civilians as “human shields” and the difficulty of identifying civilians in buildings increases the risk of civilian casualties.

    The United Nations has estimated that 200,000 civilians remain in the two-square-kilometer area in west Mosul’s Old City, which Iraqi and US-led coalition forces are encircling in preparation for the battle there.

    May 25, 2017

    As the Pentagon reports on its findings following the investigation into the US-led coalition airstrike that killed at least 100 civilians in West Mosul’s Jadida neighbourhood on 17 March 2017, Amnesty International said:

    “The attack on the Jadida neighbourhood was a tragedy that alerted the world to the horrors being inflicted upon Iraqi civilians. Entire families are being killed inside their homes, where they are stuck between ground fighting and airstrikes.

    “As the battle for Mosul draws to an end, there is no doubt that, once uncovered, the civilian death toll will raise alarm bells about the conduct of hostilities on all sides. Recent field visits to Mosul by Amnesty International have revealed that, Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition did not refrain from using explosive munitions in heavily populated areas, where civilians were being used as human shields by the group calling itself the Islamic State.

    “While we welcome the US investigation into the Jadida airstrike, we are curious to know whether any lessons were learned and what steps were taken to ensure such horrors do not occur again.

    May 24, 2017

    The US Army failed to keep tabs on more than $1 billion worth of arms and other military equipment in Iraq and Kuwait according to a now declassified Department of Defense (DoD) audit, obtained by Amnesty International following Freedom of Information requests.

    The government audit, from September 2016, reveals that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment pouring into Kuwait and Iraq to provision the Iraqi Army.

    “This audit provides a worrying insight into the US Army’s flawed – and potentially dangerous - system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” said Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights Researcher.

    “It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of US arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State.”

    April 10, 2017

    By Razaw Salihy, Iraq Campaigner at Amnesty International

    Civilians caught in the crossfire are paying the ultimate price, as Iraqi forces aided by US-led coalition airstrikes continue to push west into the city of Mosul in an effort to drive the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) out of neighbourhoods west of the Tigris River. The military operation to retake the city, which began on 17 October 2016, has already left hundreds of civilians dead and more than 300,000 displaced.

    During a fact-finding mission to northern Iraq in mid-March 2017, Amnesty International met with a number of families who made it to safety in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) in the Ninewa governorate and in nearby areas under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). They told tales of unimaginable fear and suffering.

    April 03, 2017

    Senior Crisis Adviser Donatella Rovera blogs from Mosul, Iraq. Follow Donatella on Twitter @ DRovera.

    When they heard that there would be airstrikes on their neighborhood in eastern Mosul, Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai and his family did exactly as they were told.

    “We followed the instructions of the government, which told us, ‘Stay in your homes and avoid displacement,’” he said. “We heard these instructions on the radio. … Also leaflets were dropped by planes. This is why we stayed in our homes.”

    Shortly afterward, the bombs came raining down. As the terrified al-Tai family huddled together, the house next door collapsed on them. Six people were killed there on the morning of Nov. 7, 2016, including Wa’ad’s 3-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.

    As I traveled through eastern Mosul earlier this month, I heard versions of this story again and again from families who had lost relatives in airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. Filled with rage and grief, Mosul residents described how they were expressly told to stay in their homes and were then bombed inside them.

    March 28, 2017

    Hundreds of civilians have been killed by airstrikes inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge after following Iraqi government advice not to leave during the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International. Survivors and eyewitnesses in East Mosul said they did not try to flee as the battle got underway because they received repeated instructions from the Iraqi authorities to remain in their homes.

    The shocking spike in civilian casualties from both US-led coalition airstrikes and ground fighting between the Iraqi military and IS fighters in recent months has also raised serious questions about the lawfulness of these attacks. In one of the deadliest strikes in years just days ago on 17 March 2017, up to 150 people were reported killed in a coalition airstrike in the Jadida neighbourhood of West Mosul, eventually leading the coalition to announce that it is investigating the incident.

    January 05, 2017
    Militias allied to the Iraqi government have access to arms from at least 16 countries Recent arms transfers have fuelled enforced disappearances, abductions, torture, summary killings, and deliberate destruction of civilian property Iraq is the world’s sixth-largest importer of heavy weaponry

    Paramilitary militias nominally operating as part of the Iraqi armed forces in the fight against the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) are using arms from Iraqi military stockpiles, provided by the USA, Europe, Russia and Iran, to commit war crimes, revenge attacks and other atrocities said Amnesty International in a new report today.

    Field research and detailed expert analysis of photographic and video evidence since June 2014 has found that these paramilitary militias have benefited from transfers of arms manufactured in at least 16 countries, which include tanks and artillery as well as a wide range of small arms.

    January 03, 2017

    The armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for Monday’s bombings, that targeted civilians in the predominantly Shi’a neighborhood of Sadr city, Baghdad. In response, Samah Hadid, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.said:

    “The systematic targeting of civilians in busy neighborhoods during day time, shows the Islamic State’s appalling disregard for human life and an intent to harm and terrorize a civilian population. By claiming responsibility for these horrific attacks, the Islamic State is boasting of committing war crimes.

    “Such deliberate attacks on civilians can never be justified and constitute a clear violation of international humanitarian law. They must be stopped immediately and those behind the attacks must be brought to justice.”

    According to media reports, the multiple bombings left at least 35 people dead and more than sixty injured, with one targeting a busy market in the heart of Sadr city, another targeting the nearby car park of Al-Kindi hospital and the third exploding near the Jawader hospital.

    December 21, 2016

    Released 22 December 2016 00:00 GMT

    The desperate plight of a generation of children is in the balance as the bloody battle for the city of Mosul threatens to become a humanitarian catastrophe, Amnesty International said today following a field investigation.

    On a visit to the region this month, the organization met children of all ages who had suffered terrible injuries after being caught in the line of fire between the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) and government forces, who are backed by a US-led coalition.

    “Children caught in the crossfire of the brutal battle for Mosul have seen things that no one, of any age, should ever see. I met children who have not only sustained horrific wounds but have also seen their relatives and neighbours decapitated in mortar strikes, torn to shreds by car bombs or mine explosions, or crushed under the rubble of their homes,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who returned from a 17-day mission to northern Iraq.

    November 10, 2016

    The Iraqi authorities must urgently investigate reports that fighters wearing Iraqi Federal Police uniforms tortured and extrajudicially executed residents in villages they captured south of Mosul, said Amnesty International.

    Researchers from the organization visited several villages in the al-Shura and al-Qayyara sub-districts of Ninewa governorate, south-west and south of Mosul, and gathered evidence indicating that up to six people were extrajudicially executed in late October, apparently due to suspicions they had ties to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS).

    “Men in Federal Police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul. In some cases the residents were tortured before they were shot dead execution-style,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office.

    November 07, 2016

    Kurdish authorities have carried out a wave of attacks, demolishing the homes and driving out hundreds of Arabs from Kirkuk, as apparent revenge for an attack carried out by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) on 21 October, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing, ‘Where are we supposed to go?’: Destruction and forced displacement in Kirkuk, highlights how hundreds of Sunni Arab residents, including many who fled fighting and insecurity in nearby governorates, have been expelled from Kirkuk. Many have been ordered to return to their places of origin or have been confined to camps after being suspected of assisting IS to co-ordinate the attack.

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