“Hella Mewis’s kidnapping is a serious indication of the inability of the Iraqi government and security forces to protect foreign nationals in Iraq who provide continuous humanitarian and cultural services to the Iraqi people, who need them most, “ said Ali al-Bayati, a member of the High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq.
Member of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights Ali al-Bayati told Al-Monitor, “Many are exploiting the need for blood plasma amid a lack of planning by the Ministry of Health. Poverty and desperation have pushed many coronavirus patients to sell their antibody-rich plasma.”
Families of coronavirus patients in Iraq search for volunteers from among those who had caught the virus and survived. Their blood plasma may save the lives of their infected relatives. But as the crisis lingers, people are refusing to donate their plasma.
By March 17, at least 53 assassination attempts on protesters and aligned activists had been recorded, with 22 killed, Ali al-Bayati, commissioner of Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), a government-funded body documenting abuses told Rudaw English on Wednesday. Of 75 people kidnapped, only 25 have been released to date, the fate of the remaining majority unknown.
The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights condemns the blatant attack on a female doctor by the family of one of the patients in Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in Thi Qar governorate.
As the Commission expresses its regret for such behavior , it considers it a violation of employee’s rights, while fulfilling his duty, and transgression of the state prestige, as well as a violation of human rights standards against a segment that made great sacrifices in the battle against Corona epidemic in order to save patients by the lowest medical capabilities and equipment.
The Commission demands the Ministry of the Interior and the local government in Thi Qar to provide protection for medical and health personnel, and to tighten the security measures on hospitals so that the medical staff can perform their work safely without obstructions or chaos that everyone may pay in these critical circumstances, and the Commission calls upon the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Health to fairness the doctor who was assaulted , according to law through the judicial authorities. The Commission calls on our people to show patience, solidarity and synergy to face this pandemic, and encourage initiatives, cooperation and follow health and security instructions which will contribute to their protection and safety from the threat of this virus.
The IHCHR has participated in the work of virtual course organized by “Physicians for Human Rights Organization PHR ” on documenting torture and sexual violence as well as the role of workers in the legal sector in the documentation process and dealing with the victim, in addition to dealing with other sectors where the commission was represented by Dr. Ali Al Bayati and Mr. Faisal Abdulla , Members of the Board of Commissioners, and Mrs. Reem Abultimin from the criminal justice file in the commission.
This virtual course comes as part of training courses series held by the organization that were stopped due to the Corona pandemic, as the course includes a group of lawyers, legal advisors from the Iraqi parliament, representatives of the government and the Presidency of the Republic. The course touching upon the most important international agreements and protocols that regulate legal , judicial work and the forensic in dealing with cases of torture and sexual violence, in addition to discussing the most important national laws in Iraq and the laws to be enacted.
During the training workshop, the participants stressed the need to accelerate the legislation of Anti-Torture Law by the Iraqi parliament in order for the law to establish guidelines for the Iraqi institutions in dealing with torture cases.
The member of IHCHR , Dr. Ali Al-Bayati, has called on the concerned authorities in the Ministries of Health and Environment, ministry of Interior, Baghdad Mayoralty, and NGOs to intensify their awareness and educational campaigns against Coronavirus.
Al-Bayati said that the increasing number of cases requires us to deliver information about the virus to every Iraqi citizen to avoid infection with this serious epidemic, indicating that IHCHR staff has monitored the absence of photovoltaic panels, posters and explanatory logos for the preventive measures against the epidemic on streets, intersections within cities, and in the markets.
Al-Bayati called on government agencies to educate citizens to wear masks and gloves inside taxis, malls, and fuel filling stations, stressing the need to take advantage of the display screens in public squares to disseminate the prevention methods and follow the means of protection to preserve the lives and safety of citizens by fighting the virus and reducing its spread.
The IHCHR has participated in the international electronic seminar held by the Arab Network for National Human Rights Institutions and in cooperation with the International Anti-Torture Association on “overseeing places of deprivation from the principle of ” not hurting ” in theory to practice” during the Covid 19 pandemic, where the Commission was represented by two members of the Board of Commissioners, Mr. Thamer Al-Shammari and Dr. Ali Al-Bayati.
During the seminar, the IHCHR representatives touched on the most important problems facing Iraqi prisons and detention centers such as overcrowding, poor infrastructure and health services , as well as the inability to apply social distancing in them, and therefore there is fear that they will turn into hotbed for Coronavirus.
The Commission also praised the measures taken by the Supreme Judicial Council and the Iraqi government for the release of approximately (16,000) accused person and (1,000) sentenced, including (50) juveniles, for the purpose of reducing overcrowding and addressing the issue, in addition to the communication between the inmates and families through contacts, although not being circulated in all prisons.
At the same time, the Commission stressed in the seminar that the prison supervision and detention center is a legal power within the functions of the commission and stipulated in its Law No. 53 of 2008, but it was taken from it by the government committee concerned to combat Corona at the beginning of the health crisis in Iraq, where the Commission considers that the procedure, even in order to maintain the safety of inmates and employees, but finding an alternative to this oversight is very important, such as communicating through contacts and social media periodically between IHCHR teams and inmates, detainees to prevent abuse.
The Commission has confirmed, through its representatives in the seminar, that the IHCHR has demanded the competent authorities, from the beginning , to give this file the importance and not neglect it, whether on the level of epidemiological examination and diagnosis or treatment with isolation and other procedures of sterilization and preventive means.
“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.