Rescue appeal from Iraqi protestors …IHCHR to Raseef 22: “Security used all forms of repression”

The protestors of the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar sent an “appeal” message to United Nations and the international community in six languages to intervene and end the deteriorating situation in the country, hours before the upcoming demonstrations calling for the selection of a new prime minister.

Shortly after midnight on January 31, protesters in al-Haboubi Square, the main sit-in center in Nasiriyah, raised a slogan in six languages (English, French, Chinese, German, Italian, and Russian), urging the United Nations to “immediately intervene to save Iraqi people and stop the violent security behavior against the protesters.

Security used the ugliest forms of repression, a member of High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq Ali al-Bayati said to Raseef 22, saying: “The security used all forms of repression against the demonstrators,” adding that “: about 520 have been killed since the start of the protest, 15 of them are security elements .” So far, there are thousands of wounded. What is the most horrific? ”He added:“ IHCHR has monitored numerous violations during the demonstrations, the most prominent of which are murder and various injuries, including lethal, assassination and assassination attempts, threats and kidnappings, attacks on the media, and restrictions on the work of journalists. Note that violations are numerous and widespread throughout Iraq and that the Commission has not been able to monitor all violations because it operates according to a general monitoring mechanism in 10 governorates where the protesters took to the streets.

As for targeting prominent activists and leaders of demonstrations, Al-Bayati explained that the commission has so far monitored 49 assassinations or assassination attempts of prominent activists or media personnel (22 resulted in the death of the target, 13 different injuries and 14 failed attempts). According to Al-Bayati, the number of kidnappings among activists and media workers, documented by the Commission, reached 72 persons, 22 of whom were released, and the fate of the rest was unknown.

Al-Bayati confirmed that the Commission did not document any case of clear Sexual harassment with female activists or paramedics in the framework of the demonstrations, pointing out that he does not rule out that, especially they are in the hands of some security personnels who deal with the protestors as if they were an “enemy”, as he described it. He added: “The main problem is that all the activists who were kidnapped and released later refused to talk to us. We tried a lot to communicate with them and their families, but the total refusal was the answer every time.” He pointed out that “torture” in Iraqi prisons “is a constant thing before the demonstrations in the absence of supervision,” noting that “most of the protestors’ detainees with whom we made contact, clarified that they were subjected to torture during their detention … it is possible too that they were subjected to torture even later but they scare to disclose it for fear of oppression. However, Iraqi prisons are overcrowded and there is no more place for the protestors to be held for a long time, and the people often gather in front of the police offices and we intervene too as a commission to accelerate the release of these people. ” Since the beginning of the protests, 2,714 protestors have been arrested , 328 of whom still in detention on charges of assaulting the security personnel or sabotaging public or private property. Member of the Commission for Human Rights in Iraq, Ali al-Bayati, to Raseef 22:

” Why does the repression continue?”

Al-Bayati believes that the continuous security crackdown despite widespread international condemnation is due to “is a political decision to stay and benefit from the enormous gains that are being achieved.” While it is believed that the continuing protests in light of this repression are caused by the demonstrators being part of the most toiling class who despaired from obtaining work, basic services or a better future. He continued: “The demonstrations started as a youth movement demanding no more than job opportunities. The youth were met with scorching water, rubber bullets and teargas used to disperse them , so their anger intensified, and as Iraqi society is a tribal in nature, so it is too hard for any hurts against them to be forgotten .”

He added: “There are factors that encouraged the continuation of the demonstrations, including the support of the Shiite authority ( Sistani) for the right to demonstrate and demand for reforms, support from United Nations, press and social media roles to disclose all violences immediately as well as human rights commission independent role.”

At January 31, large numbers of demonstrators moved to join the protesters in the main squares in “Tahrir and Al-Khilani in Baghdad, and the governorates of Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Diwaniyah, Karbala, Najaf, Babel and Wasit,” according to local sources. They insist on reformist demands, the most important of which is the formation of a transitional government that will pave the way for early elections independently of any party interference.

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