At least seven people, including a boy of 16, were reported missing since October 7 from or near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where they were participating in ongoing protests in Iraq’s capital, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday.

Four were still missing as of December 2. The families said they visited police stations and government offices seeking information without success, and the government took no tangible measures to locate their relatives.

It is unclear whether government security or armed groups carried out the abductions. In another two cases, security forces arrested and arbitrarily held protest supporters.

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(Source: HRW)

By John Lee.

Iraqi security forces have attacked medical workers for treating protesters since protests began on October 25, 2019, firing on medical workers, tents, and ambulances with teargas and live ammunition, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday. The attacks have left at least one medic dead.

Medics have become another victim of the state’s excessive force,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These attacks show an utter disregard for the overriding need to ensure medical workers can do their essential job.

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(Source: HRW)

By John Lee.

Authorities in Anbar governorate are suppressing the right of residents to show support for demonstrations elsewhere in the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

In recent days, they have arrested two men for merely posting messages of solidarity on Facebook, questioned a third, and sent a fourth into hiding.

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(Source: HRW)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government is denying thousands of children whose parents have a perceived Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation of their right to access an education, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

The children, who were born or lived in areas under the control of ISIS between 2014 and 2017, lack the civil documentation the Iraqi government requires for school enrollment and the government is making it difficult for them to acquire it.

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(Source: HRW)

Several members of Iraq’s parliament and the province’s deputy governor visited prisons near Mosul, Iraq, calling what they found a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

This happened two days after Human Rights Watch (HRW) released research detailing the horrible conditions of the prisons, which hold terrorism suspects.

Immediately after our report release, local authorities claimed Human Rights Watch’s research was “fallacious.” But the government’s tone has since changed. One parliamentarian admitted that “what Human Rights Watch reported was small relative to the actual catastrophe inside the prisons of Nineveh.

Nongovernmental organizations working on these issues have said that Human Rights Watch’s research has made their work easier. Human Rights Watch has also been told that the report release has positively supported their work and has sparked serious conversations in Baghdad about addressing prison conditions.

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(Source: HRW)

By John Lee.

Iraqi authorities have failed to ensure for almost 30 years that Basra residents have sufficient safe drinking water, resulting in on-going health concerns, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released today.

The situation culminated in an acute water crisis that sent at least 118,000 people to hospital in 2018 and led to violent protests.

The 128-page report, “Basra is Thirsty: Iraq’s Failure to Manage the Water Crisis,” found that the crisis is a result of complex factors that if left unaddressed will most likely result in future water-borne disease outbreaks and continued economic hardship.

The authorities at the local and federal level have done little to address the underlying conditions causing the situation.

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(Source: HRW)