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Support families with food and financial support during quarantine

Graphic: Quiet street in Baghdad

The IHCHR says a package of measures, including food and financial support, is needed to support families in need to stay in quarantine.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) has called on the government health crisis cell to provide a package of measures, including food and financial support, to low-income families and the needy so they can meet the current curfew and quarantine measures.

The IHCHR has noted, through its monitoring teams in Baghdad and provincial centres:

1.There has been non-compliance of curfew requirements in poor and informal settlements because the central and local crisis cells did not take the necessary measures to compensate these groups for their daily needs, such as food.

2. The presence of legal deterrents for the violators of curfew is important and necessary but arresting violators increases the numbers held in detention centers and thus increases the risk of disease outbreaks. We believe it is necessary to impose financial or other penalties, such as withholding bicycles and vehicles, instead of arresting violators, taking into account the health dangers of group confinement.

3. There has been a continued failure to address the issue of Iraqis returning home from other countries and the need to stop the spread of infection from abroad, taking into account the decision to suspend flights to and from Iraq since 15 March 2020.

4. There is a weakness in the internet services for many reasons and we urge the Council of Ministers, and the Ministry of Communications in particular, to take the necessary measures to maintain the networks to enhance the quality of the service provided, as it is essential for remote study experience and to ensure a smooth educational process for students and institutions.

The Commission stresses the need to allocate and release rapid financial assistance, through the government health crisis cell and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, to support to the poor and vulnerable groups. We also call on the Ministry of Trade to include them in food basket programs, and request Al-Husseinya Processions Body and the community activities to adopt the material, relief and health support initiative for poor and informal settlements in a way that contributes to containing the spread of the coronavirus.

We also urge the Ministry of Oil to provide the owners of furnaces with the necessary fuel to ensure the continuity of their work and to not raise the prices.

Due to the importance of community awareness at this time, the IHCHR calls on all civil society organisations and the media to cooperate, in partnership with the IHCHR, to raise the level of health awareness to promote good habits and increase citizen cooperation with state institutions to confront this serious epidemic.

Date: 26 March 2020

Source: Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights

Image credits

  1. Quiet street in Baghdad - The Poss; Flickr CC