36th HRC Session: Oral statement on the human rights situation in Iraq

On 19 September 2017, Human Rights Now gave an oral statement on the human rights situation in Iraq at 36th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Thank you Mr. President,

Human Rights Now expresses grave concern over ongoing human rights violations in Iraq. ISIS uses civilians as human shields, and US-led coalition airstrikes cause a heavy toll of civilian casualties. Moreover, citizens continue to be seriously threatened by airstrikes, torture or execution by Iraqi Security Forces.

According to reports we have received, Iraqi Security forces, including counter-terrorism forces, Popular Mobilization Units and federal and national police are conducting torture and extrajudicial killings not only of potential ISIS suspects, but also of civilians and refugees.

Our investigator in Iraq spoke to an Iraq army combatant who showed her a video of seven to eight young men who appeared to be in their teens, kneeling and begging to be saved. He claimed they were all ISIS combatants and was seen punching the boys in the video. When asked what happened afterwards, he replied that he had executed all of them.

Mr. President,

We strongly urge the Iraq government to take all necessary measures to protect civilians, in particular women and children. To achieve peace, Iraq must restore the rule of law and overcome the culture of impunity. We urge the Council to immediately call for all parties to cease attacking civilians. We request the UN special rapporteurs on execution, torture, and counter-terrorism and human rights to conduct official visits to Iraq to prevent further violations.

Thank you.