“Baghdad police chief said that protesters attacked security forces with Molotov [cocktails], but later Baghdad’s Operation Commander office said it was a result of a quarrel between the protesters and shop owners,” Ali Al Bayati, a member of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission told The National.
The injured demonstrators were transported to a hospital using tuk-tuks that became a symbol of the protest movement last year.
Retailers quarrelled with demonstrators after attempting to re-open their businesses as the government eased coronavirus-related curfew hours ahead of Ramadan – expected to start later this week — according to a statement from the Baghdad Operations Command.
The statement said that the “shop owner’s relatives, armed with three AK-47 rifles, arrived from Khilani Square and opened fire at the protesters in Tahrir Square.”
Reasons behind this uncertainty are due to lack of thorough investigation and accountability for such incidents and crimes, Mr Al Bayati said.
“There is no official security control around the capital and finally a security vacuum is being exploited,” Mr Al Bayati said.
Ali Al Bayati, a member of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission, said what happened to Ms Al Zubaidi was the result of increasing domestic, social and psychological tensions caused by economic woes from the outbreak of coronavirus.
“We are getting an increase in the level of domestic violence cases, especially against women and kids, and as a result we are seeing more suicidal attempts,” Mr Al Bayati told The National.
He said the police must be more active, and called for support helplines to be set up for victims of domestic abuse.
“We still do not have any law criminalising domestic violence of course,” Mr Al Bayati said.
Dr. Ali Al-Bayati, the high commission for human rights in Iraq said there are now cases of families gathering outside hospitals demanding their daughters back.
Al-Bayati blamed the problem on lack of awareness as well as the weakness of the Iraqi government. He also noted that, in general, many people infected with the virus ran away before they were to be transferred to quarantine facilities.
Up to 25 per cent of the population are defying government calls and are trying to perform their pilgrimage, Ali Al Bayati, a member of the country’s Human Rights Commission, told The National.
“Some people were arrested and given penalties for being outdoors and contributing to the spread of the disease,” Mr Al Bayati said.
Government institutions must make greater efforts to raise health awareness and design programmes on precautions and risks related to the virus, as this is one of the main problems, he said.
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Nearly 550 Iraqis have been killed in protest-related violence since unprecedented anti-government demonstrations erupted in the capital and southern cities in October, the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said on Friday.
Iraq’s health ministry confirmed the first protester shot dead on October 1 but clammed up thereafter. The Commission has since repeatedly complained that authorities declined its requests for information on deaths, injuries and arrests.
The Commission, which is government-funded but operates independently, became the only source for death tolls until it too faced pressure last year to stop reporting.
It has resumed its public reporting and on Friday shared its latest statistics with AFP, showing that 543 people have been killed since October, including 276 in Baghdad alone.
543 people have been killed since October, including 276 in Baghdad alone.
Seventeen members of the security forces are among the dead nationwide, according to the updated list. The remaining are all protesters or activists, including 22 who were assassinated.
Up to 30,000 more have been wounded during the rallies, according to medical sources.
Iraq’s security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas, smoke bombs and even machine gun fire to try to disperse rallies in the capital and Shiite-majority south.
The Commission found that many of the wounded or killed were shot by live rounds, but Iraq’s government has repeatedly denied its security forces are shooting at the protesters.
The Commission found that many of the wounded or killed were shot by live rounds.
Others have died when military-grade tear gas canisters have pierced their skulls or chests, after security forces improperly fired such equipment.
The Commission did not lay blame on any particular side but protesters themselves have singled out armed factions and the military wings of political parties, alongside the security forces.
The United Nations, for its part, has accused unnamed “militias” for a vast campaign of assassinations, kidnappings and threats.
The Commission has documented more than 2,700 arrests, with 328 people still detained. Another 72 Iraqis are categorised as disappeared.
On Thursday (February 6, 2020), a member of Iraqi high Commission for human rights, Ali Al-Bayati, called for the urgent necessity of the security forces’ availability in the demonstration yards to protect the protestors.
Al-Bayati said in an interview with him, “The protection of the demonstration squares is the responsibility of the security forces, and it is necessary to be present in the demonstration yards urgently to protect the protestors from the repeated assaults.”
He pointed out that “violence or aggression against any peaceful protester is considered a security and legal breach and the security authorities responsible for the breach must be held accountable, whether they have committed intentionally or by mistake”, stressing that he “previously demanded that, there should be investigations to uncover the facts and trials to hold all, including the negligent accountable.
According to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), there are currently 64 missing activists who have been kidnapped by unknown groups since anti-government demonstrations began on October 1.
Dr Ali al-Bayati, who works with IHCHR, said that the Iraqi government has a responsibility to “expose the perpetrators and those responsible for the kidnappings in the security forces’ area of control”.
“Iraq is part of the agreement to protect people from enforced disappearance since 2009, so it has to adhere to the terms of the agreement and conduct professional and judicial investigations on the issue and hold the perpetrators accountable,” he said.
“Otherwise, failurec to act will open the door for international bodies and UN committees to intervene.”
A member of the Iraqi High Commission For Human Rights (IHCHR) has said that 536 people have been killed during the anti-government protest movement, including seventeen members of the security forces.
Ali al-Bayati tweeted out the latest figures compiled by the rights monitor on Monday (February 3).
Iraqis have been taking to the streets of Baghdad and the southern provinces since October 1 to demand fundamental change to governance in Iraq, arguing that the current political establishment is irredeemably corrupt and should be swept away in early elections. They say that any new leaders must be committed to combating corruption, creating job opportunities, and improving public services.
In the face of these demands, the security forces and third-party armed groups have responded with live ammunition, sniper fire, abductions, and targeted killings. A particularly gruesome tactic has been the practice of firing military-grade tear gas canisters at the heads and torsos of protesters, resulting in what rights groups have called “horrific” injuries where the missiles penetrate the skull cavity.
Bayati said that an additional 23,545 people have been injured during the protests, including 3,519 members of the security forces.
A total of 2,713 people have been detained and 328 of those remain in custody. Seventy-two people have been abducted and 50 are still missing.
Twenty-two activists, journalists, and protesters have been assassinated, with an additional thirteen people wounded during attempts on their lives. Fourteen others escaped assassination attempts unscathed.