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Commission documents 11 deaths in ongoing protests

Graphic: Two IHCHR staff members monitor the demonstrations

The IHCHR is continuing to monitor clashes between security agencies and protestors in Baghdad and provinces across the country.

From monitoring the demonstrations in Baghdad and governorates, the IHCHR has made the following observations.

1. The IHCHR has continued to observe the use of excessive violence by security forces against protestors, which led to the death of one demonstrator and the injury of another 68 in Baghdad; the death of 7 demonstrators and the injury of 131 in Thi-Qar; and the death of 3 demonstrators and the injury of 90 in Basra / Umm Qasr between 21-24 November 2019. The Commission reiterates its call on the government and security forces to prevent the use of excessive violence in all its forms against peaceful demonstrators.

2. The IHCHR noted the arrest of 93 protestors in Baghdad (14 were released); the arrest of 38 protestors in Basra; the arrest of 22 protestors in Thi-Qar; and the arrest of 34 protestors in Karbala. The Commission demands that security forces do not unlawfully arrest protestors and reiterates its call to the Supreme Judicial Council for the release of peaceful demonstrators who have been arrested.

3. The IHCHR document instances of demonstrators beating security forces using Molotov Cocktails; burning some buildings and stores in Al-Khilani Square and Al-Rasheed Street in Baghdad; burning the building of Tribe Department in Thi-Qar; blocking roads in front of oil fields in the governorates of Maysan, Wasit and Basra; and blocking Umm Qasr port and some vital bridges in a number of governorates. These actions are in addition to locking a number of government buildings, schools and universities. The IHCHR emphasises the duty of demonstrators to maintain public and private property, ensure that protests are peaceful, and to ensure that people can access public services, schools and universities.

4. The IHCHR continues to receive reports of activists, journalists and lawyers being kidnapped by unknown persons. The Commission calls on the government and security forces to intensify their efforts to reveal the fate of those who have been kidnapped and ensure those responsible are brought to justice.

5. The IHCHR documented the detention and assault of some medics by security forces near the Central Bank Building at Al-Rasheed Street on 22 November 2019, where they were providing first aid and treatment for injured and asphyxiated persons. The Commission calls on security forces to facilitate the work of medics group and to protect them from any form of assault.

6. The IHCHR commends the cooperation of the security forces with the demonstrators to establish joint checkpoints to protect demonstrators and maintain the peacefulness of demonstrations in the provinces of Najaf, Diwaniya, Babil, Muthanna, Maysan and Wasit.

7. The Commission helped organise and supervise the visit by 30 families of detainees held in connection with the demonstrations and the assignment of lawyers to them, in cooperation with the Bar Association.

Date: 26 November 2019

Source: Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights

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  1. Two IHCHR staff members monitor the demonstrations - IHCHR