رأت منظمة هيومن رايتس ووتش ان وتيرة الاعدامات في العراق تؤكد الطبيعة غير الشفافة والمقلقة للنظام القضائي في هذا البلد الذي بات في مصاف اولى الدول التي تتبع عقوبة الاعدام في المنطقة.
وقالت المنظمة التي تعنى بحقوق الانسان في بيان اصدرته الاربعاء ان هناك تساؤلات ومخاوف جدية ازاء التزام نظام العدالة العراقي بالمعايير الدولية للمحاكمة العادلة.
واضافت ان اصرار السلطات العراقية على تنفيذ هذه السلسلة المشينة من عمليات الاعدام مع عدم استعدادها لكشف الا اقل المعلومات الممكنة عنها، هو تأكيد على الطبيعة غير الشفافة والمقلقة لنظام العدالة العراقي.
وذكرت هيومن رايتس ووتش ان العراق بات في مصافي اولى الدول التي تستخدم عقوبة الاعدام في المنطقة، مطالبة بوقف تطبيق هذه العقوبة.
وتابعت ان لجوء الدولة الى الاعدام لن يؤدي الا لزيادة العنف في المجتمع، واذا استمرت معدلات الاعدام على هذا النحو، فسرعان ما سيحتل العراق المرتبة الثالثة بين الدول المستخدمة للاعدام على مستوى العالم.
رأت منظمة هيومن رايتس ووتش ان وتيرة الاعدامات في العراق تؤكد الطبيعة غير الشفافة والمقلقة للنظام القضائي في هذا البلد الذي بات في مصاف اولى الدول التي تتبع عقوبة الاعدام في المنطقة.
انتقدت منظمة هيومن رايتس ووتش المعنية بمراقبة حقوق الإنسان قانون جرائم المعلوماتية العراقي، معتبرة انه يقيد حرية التعبير ويهدد الصحفيين الذين يكشفون وقائع الفساد، فيما دعت البرلمان إلى عدم الموافقة عليه.
وقال نائب المدير التنفيذي لقسم الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا في المنظمة جو ستورك في بيان صدر عن المنظمة امس الخميس ، إن مشروع قانون جرائم المعلوماتية العراقي من شأنه تقييد حرية التعبير في خرق القانون الدولي، وتهديد الصحفيين والأفراد الذين يكشفون عن وقائع فساد.
وأضاف ستورك أن هذا القانون الذي لم يصدر بعد، يشتمل أحكام فضفاضة مبهمة تسمح للسلطات العراقية بتنزيل عقوبات قاسية بحق الذين يعبرون عن آراء تراها الحكومة أنها تهدد مصالحها، مشيرا إلى أن مشروع القانون سيمنح للسلطات العراقية أداة جديدة لقمع المعارضة، لا سيما على الإنترنت، التي يلجأ إليها الصحفيون والنشطاء العراقيون بشكل متزايد.
وتابع ستورك أن القانون يشمل عقوبات جنائية وحشية متطرفة من شأنها إسكات أصوات المعارضة، داعيا مجلس النواب إلى عدم الموافقة على هذا القانون دون أن يراجع القيود الواردة فيه على الحقوق أو أن يلغيها.
Iraqi authorities have detained, interrogated, and beaten several protest organizers in Baghdad in recent days, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi authorities should stop the attacks and charge or release those being held, Human Rights Watch said.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, a protest organizer, Isma’il Abdullah, was abducted, stabbed, and beaten on May 27, 2011. The Kurdistan government should make sure its promised investigation of the episode is thorough, fair, and transparent, and leads to the prosecution of those responsible, Human Rights Watch said.
"Authorities in Baghdad and in Iraqi-Kurdistan are keeping their citizens from demonstrating peacefully," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Iraq needs to make sure that security forces and pro-government gangs stop targeting protest organizers, activists, and journalists."
Several activists in the capital told Human Rights Watch that they believed that the increased security at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and the recent arrests were an attempt to head off reinvigoration of public protests, amid efforts by various small protest groups to work together. They said that neighborhood officials had warned them that security forces had made increased inquiries into the activists’ whereabouts and activities over the past two weeks.
On May 28, soldiers in four Humvees and two other unmarked vehicles approached the offices of the human rights group Where Are My Rights in Baghdad’s Bab al Mu’adham neighborhood, as members met with fellow protest organizers from the February 25 Group. Members of both groups told Human Rights Watch that soldiers raided the building with guns drawn, took away 13 activists in handcuffs and blindfolds, and confiscated mobile phones, computers and documents.
One detained activist who was released on May 29 told Human Rights Watch that during the raid a commanding officer introduced himself as "from Brigade 43"of the army’s 11th Division and said another officer was "from Baghdad Operation Command."
"They did not show any arrest warrants and did not tell us why we were being arrested," this activist said:
A female activist complained and asked to see warrants, and they told her to "shut up and get in the car." They blindfolded and handcuffed us, and while they were doing this, they asked, "Why are you having these meetings? Do you really think you can bring down the government?" And they asked who was supporting us.
Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, rocked by months of protests where five people have died, risks losing its hard-won reputation as a haven of safety and freedom within the country, experts said.
There was still room for talks between protesters and the government, they added, warning any crackdown by Kurdish authorities would inflict immeasurable damage, even straining relations with Washington.
The near-daily demonstrations in the region’s second-biggest city of Sulaimaniyah initially decried corruption and nepotism, but have since risen in rancour to call for a complete dissolution of the autonomous government.
"Politics in Kurdistan is a very emotive topic," said Ali al-Saffar, an Iraq analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London. "All sides have shown quite a lot of restraint, but if something were to happen it could boil over."
Saffar noted that if protesters in Sulaimaniyah were attacked en masse by security forces, "the reputational damage will be immense."
"Kurdistan has spent millions in Washington lobbying the US government, and if any crackdown were to happen, it would push back relations a great deal," he said.
The three-province region, whose assembly makes decisions independent of Baghdad in most policy areas, is reputed for being markedly safer than the rest of Iraq, where hundreds still die on a monthly basis in insurgent violence.
As a result, several foreign firms have invested in the region: the only international chain hotel in Iraq is in the Kurdish capital of Arbil, and several shopping malls have recently been built or are under construction with foreign financing.
But high levels of unemployment, graft and nepotism in Kurdistan, which has been ruled by two-parties for decades, sparked street protests in Sulaimaniyah from mid-February, fuelled by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
In three straight days of rallies this week more than 100 protesters were wounded when security forces attempted to disperse demonstrations.
Kurdish security officials and local non-governmental organisations said more than 300 protesters had been detained since Saturday at the protests.
Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders noted in a statement on Thursday that it was "deeply shocked by a spate of arbitrary arrests," while Human Rights Watch in New York called on Kurdish authorities to "end their widening crackdown on peaceful protests."
"The demonstrations started especially with the young generation," said Asos Hardi, a Sulaimaniyah-based Kurdish journalist. "The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were the main spurs of the protest but, very quickly, a wider section of society joined in."
"If you go back and read reports from international organisations about human rights, freedoms, management and corruption in Kurdistan, you can understand why people are angry with their leaders," added Hardi, who helped found two of the region’s biggest independent newspapers.
He noted, however, that despite the poisonous views the protesters and government had of each other, there was still hope for dialogue.
Sulaimaniyah, reputed as the intellectual capital of the region, has long been a bastion of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A faction of the PUK, however, split in 2009 and went into opposition.
In the regional capital of Arbil, by contrast, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of regional president Massud Barzani retains a tight grip.
A poll conducted by the Washington-based International Republican Institute in December offered hints for the causes behind the anger in Sulaimaniyah.
Some 62 percent of respondents in Sulaimaniyah said Kurdish MPs were not listening to their needs, and 35 percent said the economic situation in Kurdistan was either "somewhat bad" or "very bad," both of which were the highest in the region.
"The KDP and the PUK must change," said Mahmud Othman, an independent Kurdish MP in the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad. "They need to change, definitely, but are they capable, are they serious? That is what remains to be seen."
Regardless of possible change, independent journalist Hardi insisted the two months of protests marked a crucial shift in Kurdistan.
"Everything in our history has been about protecting our existence as a culture, as a nation, as a people," Hardi said. "But now, these protests are about changing and improving our existence."
Source: Middle East Online
لم تكن دعوة قيادة عمليات بغداد الى تغيير مكان التظاهرات لتلقى ترحيب المتظاهرين بل ان تمسكهم بساحة التحرير التي ربما تمنحهم الدعم المعنوي ازداد عقب دعوتهم الى تركها.
احد المشاركين في التظاهرات:نستمر وكل انسان عراقي غيور على بلده ويحس بغيرته على بلده ان يتوجه الى ساحة التحرير يطالب بتصحيح العملية السياسية.
احد المشاركين في التظاهرات: هو المتظاهر طالع يدلي بحريته يطلع يدليهة بين اربع حيطان لو يروح لساحة التحرير هي ليش سميت بالتحرير اني اريد احرر اريد اغير.
ويفسر مراقبون زيادة إصرار المتظاهرين على البقاء في ساحة التحرير بانها انعكاس لأجراءات الحكومة التي تحاول من خلالها تحجيم التظاهرات.
هادي جلو مرعي صحفي:
معظم الناس لا يقبلون بتحجيم دورهم ومنعهم من الخروج للتظاهر واختيار الاماكن التي يريدونها بالتالي فهذه الاجراءات في هذه المرحلة ستكون محل نقد واسع وسيكون هناك رغة لدى الناس ليكونوا بالضد من هذا الاجراء.
وتدافع عمليات عن قرارها بنقل التظاهرات إلى أماكن مغلقة بعيدا عن مركز العاصمة، وتقول إن اسبابا اقتصادية لا تقل عن الأمنية وراء هذا القرار، وهو تبرير ايده اصحاب المحال التجارية المحيطة بساحة التحرير.
اللواء قاسم عطا الناطق بإسم عمليات بغداد: الاف الطلبات قدمت الى قيادة عمليات بغداد مناشدات بإيجاد حل لما يعاني اصحاب هذه المحال ايام الجمع وايام التظاهر لذلك اكدنا على تهيأة ملاعب لم يرغب بالحصول على موافقة رسمية من المحافظة والمحافظة تعطي الموافقة الرسمية على تنظيم التظاهرة في الملاعب.
صاحب محل: كل جمعة يجون واحنة هنا على باب الله ..اكيد يأثر على شغلنة احنة مراح نكدر نشتغل المظاهرات امام المحلات والمحلات مسدودة عدنا عمال يشتغلون راح يكعدون
وبينما تشدد قيادة العمليات في تصريحاتها على ضرورة عدم التظاهر في ساحة التحرير يبدو ان العاصفة الترابية التي يتعرض لها العراق ستمنع العديد من المتظاهرين من الخروج أو على الاقل ستوفر على مكافحة الشغب استخدام الهراوات او الغاز المسيل للدموع.
Kurdistan authorities should end their widening crackdown on peaceful protests in northern Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should hold accountable those responsible for attacking protesters and journalists in Arbil and Sulaimaniya since April 17, 2011, including opening fire on demonstrators and beating them severely, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch also called on Iraqi authorities in Baghdad to investigate the detention and torture of a protester, Alaa Nabil, and to charge or release more than two dozen activists held in a prison in Baghdad’s Old Muthanna Airport. Central government and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities should revoke their recent bans on unlicensed demonstrations in Sulaimaniya province and on street protests in Baghdad, Human Rights Watch said.
"Iraqi authorities in Kurdistan and Baghdad need to rein in their security forces and protect the right to protest peacefully," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The Iraqi political authorities need to end their knee-jerk responses and stop banning protests, detaining demonstrators, and beating journalists."
Repression in Kurdistan
In the afternoon of April 18 in Arbil, the Kurdistan capital, dozens of armed men in civilian clothes attacked students from the Kurdistan region’s largest university, Salahadin, as they tried to hold a demonstration. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the assailants also attacked journalists and at least one member of parliament.
A third-year Salahadin student told Human Rights Watch that a large group of organized assailants wearing civilian clothes attacked the protesters with brute force.
"We chanted ‘freedom, freedom,’ and then security forces came and abolished the demonstration," the student said. "They were hitting people by knives and sticks … and arrested 23 protesters."
The assailants beat Muhamad Kyani, a member of the Iraqi national parliament for the opposition party Goran (Change) List, and his bodyguard while they were walking away from the demonstration. "There was no violence from us, nothing happened from our side to incite them," Kyani told Human Rights Watch. "I was on my way to the car when the Asayish [the official security agency for the Kurdistan region] threw me to the ground and started to kick and beat me." Kyani had two black eyes and other minor injuries from the beating. "They just wanted to intimidate and insult me and those with me," he said. "During the beating they swore at us and called me a traitor."
Reporters without Borders documented attacks on at least 10 journalists covering the April 18 protest. The group said assailants also detained numerous journalists, including Awara Hamid of the newspaper Rozhnam, Bahman Omer of Civil Magazine, Hajar Anwar, bureau chief of the Kurdistan News Network, and Mariwan Mala Hassan, a KNN reporter, as well as two of the station’s cameramen.
Shwan Sidiq of Civil Magazine was hospitalized after the assailants broke his hand. "My hand is broken, my head still hurts," he told Human Rights Watch. "What I saw was what in 1988 Saddam Hussein did against me and my family."
Security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the two ruling parties there, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, have used repressive measures against journalists since the start of the protests in Iraq on February 17. The local press freedom group Metro Center has documented more than 150 cases of attacks and harassment of Kurdish journalists since February 17. In March, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 20 journalists covering the protests in Kurdistan.
"Time and again we found that security forces and their proxies violate journalists’ freedom of expression through death threats, arbitrary arrests, beatings, harassment, and by confiscating and vandalizing their equipment," Stork said.
In Sulaimaniya, daily clashes since April 17 have injured more than 100 protesters, journalists, and security forces. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that on April 17 security forces fired live ammunition into the air to clear protesters blocking a road, while others shot into the crowd indiscriminately, wounding at least seven demonstrators.
"Police and security forces used everything to attack us," one protester told Human Rights Watch. "They opened fire, threw stones, used sticks and their Kalashnikovs to keep us from demonstrating."
Protest organizers told Human Rights Watch that on April 18, security forces violently seized control of Sara Square, the center of daily protests in Sulaimaniya since February 17, and demolished the protesters’ podium. Security forces have fanned out across the city and have refused to allow protesters back to the site – renamed Azadi (Freedom) Square by demonstrators – resulting in clashes on April 18 and 19.
On March 6, masked assailants attacked demonstrators and set their tents on fire but failed to evict protesters from the site.
On April 19, protest organizers said, security forces detained dozens of students and others in and around Sulaimaniya, releasing most later in the day. One law undergraduate told Human Rights Watch that security forces attacked her and other protesters at the Dukan checkpoint on their way to Sulaimaniya.
"We were forced to get off the buses," she said. "They threatened if we went [to the protest], we would be killed. A friend of mine asked them not to shoot us because we have pens and not guns, but when he raised his pen security forces opened fire and he was badly injured."
Since then, this student said, she has received anonymous threatening phone calls telling her not to return to Sulaymaniya. Security forces raided Koya University, where she studies, and arrested two students. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
The family of a prominent Kurdish writer and activist, Rebin Hardi, told Human Rights Watch that security forces severely beat him during and after his arrest on April 19 for participating in a protest in front of the Sulaimaniya courthouse. Photos taken after his release later that day viewed by Human Rights Watch showed severe swelling up and down the right sight of his body including his eye, arm, and thigh.
Since February 17, clashes with security forces have killed at least seven civilians and injured more than 250 demonstrators in Kurdistan, but thousands have continued to protest alleged corruption and the political dominance of the KDP and PUK.
On April 19, the government’s Security Committee for Sulaimaniya Province banned all unlicensed demonstrations. Legislation passed by the Kurdistan Regional Government in December gives authorities wide discretion in deciding whether to approve a license for a protest. The law’s wording is exceptionally vague and susceptible to abuse, Human Rights Watch said. Under article 3(c) of the law, authorities can reject a request if "the protest will damage the system or public decency."
Protests in Baghdad
Iraqi security forces in Baghdad are detaining and abusing activists in connection with protests against the chronic lack of basic services and perceived widespread corruption. On April 8, security forces in a vehicle with markings from the 43rd Brigade of the Army’s 11th Division, arrested Nabil at the end of a peaceful protest at Tahrir Square. He was immediately transferred to other security forces in civilian clothing, and held for a week.
Released on April 15, Nabil, an organizer of the February 25 Group – one of several groups planning demonstrations in the capital – told Human Rights Watch that he had been beaten repeatedly while his hands were held behind his back with plastic zip-ties, and often while blindfolded. He said his captors also used a stun gun on his arms, chest, and back.
"I heard them giving orders to shock us and hit us only below the neck, so there wouldn’t be any marks. They shocked me and hit me on the arms and back and chest," he said. "I got a cut on my head that was bleeding, and one of the guards yelled at another who caused it. ‘Why did you make him bleed? He is a son of a bitch and will make a scandal for us. Do not leave any marks. Hit him in places where there will be no marks.’"
Nabil said his captors went through his cell phone and told him, "We know all these numbers, and we are watching and listening to all your calls.’"
Nabil had previously been arrested on March 22, and Human Rights Watch witnessed signs of physical abuse immediately after his release from that detention. Human Rights Watch sent inquiries about Nabil’s arrest and others to the offices of the prime minister and security officials but has received no response from authorities.
On April 13, security forces entered the adjoining offices of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI) and the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), where the February 25 Group has held meetings in Baghdad. The security forces arrested one of the group’s members, Firas Ali, who has peacefully participated in several of the Tahrir Square demonstrations.
A protester detained in early April for taking part in demonstrations at Tahrir Square told Human Rights Watch upon his release that he saw Ali inside a prison in Baghdad’s Old Muthanna Airport. The witness said Ali was being held with more than two dozen protesters, 20 of whom were detained on the day of the April 15 demonstration.
Human Rights Watch is also concerned about Haydar Shihab Ahmad, also from the February 25 Group, who has been missing since April 1, just after taking part in that day’s demonstration in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Members of his family told Human Rights Watch that they have made several inquiries at prisons in Baghdad in unsuccessful attempts to locate him, and have received no official reply about whether he has been detained.
"Iraqi authorities need to release any peaceful protester held incommunicado and without charge, and account for those it is charging with a criminal offense," Stork said.
Iraqi authorities have taken several steps to eliminate protests in the capital from public view. On April 13, officials issued new regulations barring street protests and allowing them only at three soccer stadiums.
"We have specified Al-Shaab, Kashafa and Zawraa stadiums as permitted sites for demonstrations in Baghdad instead of Ferdus or Tahrir squares," Baghdad’s security spokesman, Major General Qassim Atta, said at a news conference televised by the state broadcaster, Iraqiyya TV. "Many shop owners and street vendors have called us and complained to us because demonstrations have affected their work and the movement of traffic."
In late February, Iraqi police allowed dozens of assailants to beat and stab peaceful protesters in Baghdad. In the early hours of February 21, dozens of men, some wielding knives and clubs, attacked about 50 protesters who had set up two tents in Tahrir Square. During nationwide February 25 protests, security forces killed at least 12 protesters across the country and injured more than 100. On that day, Human Rights Watch observed Baghdad security forces beating unarmed journalists and protesters, smashing cameras, and confiscating memory cards.
On June 25, 2010, in response to thousands of Iraqis who took to the streets to protest a chronic lack of government services, the Interior Ministry issued onerous regulations that effectively impeded Iraqis from organizing lawful protests. The regulations required organizers to get "written approval of both the minister of interior and the provincial governor" before submitting an application to the relevant police department.
Iraq’s constitution guarantees "freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration."As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iraq is obligated to protect the rights to life and security of the person, and the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Iraq should also abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, which state that lethal force may only be used when strictly unavoidable to protect life, and must be exercised with restraint and proportionality. The principles also require governments to "ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offense under their law."
Iraq’s announcement on March 14, 2011, that it will close the Camp Honor detention center after a parliamentary committee uncovered torture there is a positive move but only a first step, Human Rights Watch said today. A pressing need remains for an independent investigation into who was responsible for the abuse there, Human Rights Watch said.
Iraqi officials should establish an independent body with authority to impartially investigate the torture that occurred at Camp Honor and other sites run by the 56th Brigade, also known as the "Baghdad Brigade," and the Counterterrorism Service – the elite security forces attached to the military office of the prime minister. The investigating body should recommend disciplinary steps or criminal prosecution of everyone of any rank implicated in the abuse, Human Rights Watch said.
"Shutting down Camp Honor will mean little if detainees are shuffled to other facilities to face torture again," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "There needs to be a genuine, independent investigation and criminal prosecution of everyone, regardless of rank, responsible for the horrific abuses there."
The Justice Ministry announced on March 14 that it would close Camp Honor after members of a parliamentary investigative committee, consisting largely of parliament’s Human Rights Committee members, found evidence of torture during a spot inspection of the facility five days earlier. Investigative committee members told Human Rights Watch that they had observed 175 prisoners in "horrible conditions" at the prison, in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. They said they saw physical "signs of recent abuse, including electric shocks" and marks on detainees’ bodies, including long scars across their backs.
Detainees described to committee members the torture they endured there and said that more than 40 other detainees had been hastily moved from the facility less than an hour before members of the committee arrived.
Iraq’s Minister of Justice Hussein al-Shammari told Human Rights Watch on March 29 that all of Camp Honor’s detainees – between 150 and 160 – had been moved to three other facilities under the control of his ministry. According to the parliamentary committee, however, the number of detainees held at Camp Honor was higher. The committee, established by parliament on February 8 after a Human Rights Watch report and a Los Angeles Times article documented the abuse of detainees at Camp Honor, said it had officially requested from prison authorities a list of all the detainees’ names, but had received no information as of March 29.
In response to repeated allegations of serious abuse at Iraqi detention facilities, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki issued a statement on March 19 reiterating that "there are no secret detention centers, and all prisons and detention centers are open to regulatory authorities and judicial authorities, which must report any violations found, if any, and notify judicial authorities to take legal action against the perpetrators."
However, the February 1 report by Human Rights Watch described a new secret prison within Camp Justice, a sprawling military base in northwest Baghdad, run by the same forces in charge at Camp Honor – the 56th Brigade and the Counterterrorism Service – both of which report directly to the prime minister’s military office. The Counterterrorism Service works closely with US Special Forces.
The Human Rights Watch report revealed that the Justice Ministry had minimal oversight control over these facilities and that prison officials abused detainees with impunity at Camp Honor. In December 2010, Human Rights Watch spoke with more than a dozen former detainees from Camp Honor, who described how detainees were held incommunicado and in inhumane conditions, often for months at a time. Detainees described in detail the wide-ranging abuses they endured during interrogation sessions at the facility, usually to extract confessions. They said interrogators beat them, hung them upside down for hours at a time, administered electric shocks to various body parts, including their genitals, and asphyxiated them repeatedly with plastic bags put over their heads until they passed out.
"Instead of more denials, Iraqi authorities should come clean and name those who were responsible for running Camp Honor and the abuses that happened under their watch," Stork said. "If the government is serious about ending torture, it must immediately prevent security forces from running other sites beyond the reach of the judicial system."
النساء والصحفيون والمحتجظون والجماعات المهمشة يواجهون المخاطر بعد 8 سنوات من الغزو
بيروت، 21 فبراير/شباط 2011) – قالت هيومن رايتس ووتش في تقرير أصدرته اليوم إن حقوق المواطنين الأكثر استضعافاً وعرضة للخطر، لا سيما النساء والمحتجزين، يتم انتهاكها بشكل متكرر مع الإفلات من العقاب. أجرت هيومن رايتس ووتش بحوثها في سبع مدن في شتى أنحاء العراق أثناء عام 2010 وانتهت إلى أنه مع استمرار العنف والجريمة في العراق، فإن انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان تقع بوفرة.
تقرير "عند مفترق الطرق: حقوق الإنسان في العراق بعد ثماني سنوات من الغزو بقيادة الولايات المتحدة" الذي جاء في 102 صفحة يدعو الحكومة إلى حماية حقوق الجماعات والفئات المستضعفة وإلى تعديل قانون العقوبات وجميع القوانين الأخرى التي تميز ضد النساء وتخرق الحق في حرية التعبير. ويدعو التقرير أيضاً بغداد إلى فتح تحقيقات نزيهة ومستقلة في جميع مزاعم الإساءات بحق المحتجزين والأقليات والصحفيين.
وقال جو ستورك، نائب المدير التنفيذي لقسم الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا في هيومن رايتس ووتش: "بعد ثماني سنوات من الغزو الأمريكي، فالحياة في العراق تتدهور بالنسبة للنساء والأقليات، بينما الصحفيون والمحتجزون يواجهون انتهاكات حقوقية جسيمة. اليوم يقف العراق على مفترق الطرق – إما أن يتبنى مبادئ إجراءات التقاضي السليمة وحقوق الإنسان، وإلا فهو في خطر التحول إلى دولة بوليسية".
الغزو في عام 2003 وما تلاه من فوضى أدى لتكبد المدنيين العراقيين خسائر فادحة. تدهور الوضع الأمني أدى لعودة بعض ممارسات العدالة التقليدية والتطرف السياسي المدفوع بتوجهات دينية، مما كان له أثر سلبي على حقوق النساء، داخل البيت وخارجه، كما تبينت هيومن رايتس ووتش.
روجت الميليشيات لأفكار كراهية المرأة واستهدفت النساء والفتيات بالاغتيالات والترهيب لإبعادهن عن المشاركة في الحياة العامة. وبشكل متزايد تتعرض النساء والفتيات للوقوع ضحايا في بيوتهن نفسها، بسبب جملة من التعديات المتصورة للمرأة على شرف الأسرة أو المجتمع. وتنتشر ظاهرة الإتجار بالنساء والفتيات داخل وخارج العراق لأغراض الاستغلال الجنسي.
وقال جو ستورك: "تحملت النساء والفتيات العراقيات أكبر الأعباء في هذا النزاع وما تلاه من انعدام للأمان". وتابع: "بالنسبة للنساء العراقيات المتمعات ببعض أعلى مستويات تدابير الحماية الحقوقية والمشاركة الاجتماعية في المنطقة قبل عام 1991، كان ما حدث غصة مريرة في الحلق يصعب تحملها".
رغم التحسن الذي طرأ على الحالة الأمنية منذ عام 2008 مما أدى لانخفاض معدلات قتل العاملين بالإعلام، إلا أن الصحافة مهنة خطيرة في العراق، على حد قول هيومن رايتس ووتش. قام متطرفون ومعتدون مجهولون بقتل صحفيين وتفجير مقارهم ومكاتبهم. وتزايد تعرض الصحفيين للمضايقات والترهيب والتهديد والاحتجاز والاعتداءات البنية من قبل قوات الأمن التابعة للمؤسسات الحكومية والأحزاب السياسية. كما يسارع المسؤولون الحكوميون بمقاضاة الصحفيين ومطبوعاتهم إذا كتبوا عنهم موضوعات انتقادية.
وقال جو ستورك: "مع مشاهدة ما حدث في شوارع مصر وتونس، على الحكومة العراقية أن تتخذ خطوات ملموسة من أجل حماية حرية التعبير".
كما انتهت هيومن رايتس ووتش إلى أن المحققين العراقيين لجأوا بشكل ممنهج إلى الإساءة للمحتجزين، بغض النظر عن طائفتهم، وفي العادة يسيئون إليهم لانتزاع الاعترافات. ورغم معرفة وجود خطر التعذيب الواضح، فإن السلطات الأمريكية أحالت آلاف المحتجزين العراقيين إلى الحبس طرف السلطات العراقية، التي استمرت في ممارسة التعذيب القائم منذ عصر صدام حسين وقوات التحالف من بعده.
بينما أصدرت الحكومة قوانين لحماية بعض جماعاتها المُهمشة، وفي بعض الحالات بادرت بفتح برامج مساعدات هامة، فإنها ما زالت تخفق في حماية بعض أضعف الفئات من المواطنين العراقيين، على حد قول هيومن رايتس ووتش. الأشخاص النازحون داخلياً والأقليات وأصحاب الإعاقات من بين الأكثر عرضة للخطر. الكثير من المساعدات الحكومية وبرامج الحماية لا تعمل بكامل طاقتها أو غير كافية لبلوغ أكثر من يحتاجون إليها.
وقالت هيومن رايتس ووتش إن هناك أكثر من 1.5 مليون عراقي فروا من أحيائهم السكنية مع تمزيق العنف الطائفي لتجمعاتهم السكنية في عامي 2006 و2007. الآلاف من النازحين داخلياً يعيشون حالياً في بنايات مهجورة استوطنوها، دون توفر الضروريات الأساسية لديهم، مثل المياه النظيفة والكهرباء والصرف الصحي، على حد قول هيومن رايتس ووتش.
أما الجماعات المسلحة التي تتبنى الأفكار المتطرفة فقامت بتنفيذ هجمات على الأقليات، أدت إلى ضرر بالغ لحق بجماعات من السكان الأصليين في العراق، وأجبرت الآلاف على الفرار إلى خارج البلاد دون نية للعودة. أخفقت الحكومة أيضاً في وقف الهجمات التي استهدفت الصابئة المندائيين والمسيحيين والأزديين، بالإضافة إلى جماعات أخرى.
واكتشفت هيومن رايتس ووتش أن الآلاف ممن بُترت أطرافهم والجرحى خلال سنوات النزاع المسلح وجدوا أنفسهم وقد تحولوا إلى هامش المجتمع، غير قادرين على العثور على عمل، أو الحصول على رعاية طبية ملائمة، أو حتى الحصول على أطراف صناعية جديدة ومقاعد متحركة.
وقال جو ستورك: "مستقبل العراق كمجتمع ديمقراطي يعتمد على احترام حقوق الإنسان الأساسية، سوف يستند إلى حد كبير على ما إذا كانت السلطات العراقية ستدافع بالشكل الكافي عن هذه الحقوق" وتابع: "حتى تعمل على تحقيق هذا، على السلطات العراقية تشكيل نظام عدالة جنائية موثوق يفي بالمعايير الدولية الخاصة بالتعذيب وحرية التعبير والعنف ضد المرأة وغيرها من الجماعات المستضعفة في المجتمع العراقي".
The rights of Iraq’s most vulnerable citizens, especially women and detainees, are routinely violated with impunity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch conducted research in seven cities across Iraq during 2010 and found that, beyond the country’s continuing violence and crimes, human rights abuses are commonplace.
The 102-page report, "At a Crossroads: Human Rights in Iraq Eight Years After the US-led Invasion," calls on the government to protect the rights of vulnerable groups and to amend its penal code and all other laws that discriminate against women and violate freedom of speech. The report also urges Baghdad to open independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of abuse against detainees, minorities, and journalists.
"Eight years after the US invasion, life in Iraq is actually getting worse for women and minorities, while journalists and detainees face significant rights violations," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Today, Iraq is at a crossroads – either it embraces due process and human rights or it risks reverting to a police state."
The 2003 invasion and its resulting chaos have exacted an enormous toll on Iraq’s citizens. The deterioration of security has promoted a return to some traditional justice practices and religiously inflected political extremism, which have had a deleterious effect on women’s rights, both inside and outside the home, Human Rights Watch found.
Militias promoting misogynist ideologies have targeted women and girls for assassination, and intimidated them to keep them from participating in public life. Increasingly, women and girls are victimized in their own homes for a variety of perceived transgressions against family or community honor. Trafficking in women and girls in and out of the country for sexual exploitation is widespread.
"The women and girls of Iraq have borne the biggest brunt of this conflict and resulting insecurity," Stork said. "For Iraqi women, who enjoyed some of the highest levels of rights protection and social participation in the region before 1991, this has been an enormously bitter pill to swallow."
Although improvements in security since 2008 have reduced the murder rate of media workers, journalism is a hazardous occupation in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said. Extremists and unidentified assailants kill journalists and bomb their offices. Increasingly, journalists find themselves harassed, intimidated, threatened, detained, and physically assaulted by security forces attached to government institutions or political parties. Senior politicians are quick to sue journalists and their publications for unflattering articles.
"Watching what’s happened in the streets of Egypt and Tunisia, the Iraqi government should take meaningful steps to protect freedom of speech," said Stork.
Human Rights Watch also found that Iraqi interrogators routinely abuse detainees, regardless of sect, usually to coerce confessions. Despite knowing there was a clear risk of torture, US authorities transferred thousands of Iraqi detainees to Iraqi custodians, who have continued a tradition of torture that was also the case under Saddam Hussein and coalition forces.
While the government has passed laws to protect some of its marginalized communities, and in some cases has instituted significant assistance programs, it is still failing some of its most vulnerable citizens, Human Rights Watch said. Internally displaced persons, minorities, and persons with disabilities are among those at risk. Many of the government’s assistance or protection programs are sub-operational or are insufficient to reach those who need it most.
More than 1.5 million Iraqis fled their neighborhoods as sectarian violence tore up their communities in 2006 and 2007. Thousands of internally displaced persons now live in squatter settlements without access to basic necessities such as clean water, electricity, and sanitation, Human Rights Watch said.
Armed groups proclaiming intolerant ideologies carry out assaults on minority communities, causing grave harm to Iraq’s indigenous populations and forcing thousands to flee abroad with no plans to return. The government has failed to stop attacks targeting Sabian Mandaeans, Christians, and Yazidis, among other groups.
And the thousands of amputees wounded during years of armed conflict find themselves relegated to the margins of society, unable to find work, access adequate medical care, or even to obtain new prostheses and wheelchairs, Human Rights Watch found.
"Iraq’s future as a democratic society based on respect for fundamental human rights will in large part depend on whether Iraqi authorities will adequately defend those rights," Stork said. "To do so, Iraqi authorities need to establish a credible criminal justice system meeting international standards with respect to torture, free expression, and violence against women and other vulnerable people in Iraq’s society."
Suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents and Shi’ite militiamen are routinely tortured or abused by Iraqi security forces to extract confessions early in their detention and interrogation, Iraqi military officials say.
Six Iraqi security officials, including two high-ranking officers, as well as former detainees and lawyers, told Reuters that prisoners are beaten, stomped on or strung up by their hands during arrest and preliminary interrogations.
Suspects are beaten and trampled when they resist arrest and are sometimes tortured when they provoke interrogators by showing "enjoyment" or "pride," a senior military official familiar with military jails in Baghdad told Reuters.
"Some suspects delight in the narrative details of how they murdered their victims. In response, some investigators slap them or kick them or order them hung up (by the arms)," he said, asking for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Iraq’s Supreme Judiciary Council received more than 400 complaints last year from detainees or their families, accusing Iraqi military interrogators of torture or abuse. In only 90 cases did a court take up the allegations and launch a probe.
Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry, responding to the information obtained by Reuters, said inspection teams still record abuse cases during prison visits but the number is falling.
"Cases of violations and irregularities … are not a phenomenon … not systemic, but a very limited number of individual cases," ministry spokesman Kamil Amine said.
Torture was widespread under the late dictator Saddam Hussein, ousted in the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Disclosures in 2004 that U.S. jailers had abused and sexually humiliated Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison outraged many Iraqis and may have fueled the insurgency.
Iraq’s elected authorities last year promised to crack down on continuing abuse of prisoners in Iraq, where human rights groups have warned torture of detainees by security forces has been systematic as they fight a waning insurgency.
Terrorism suspects often are held at the Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport, or Camp Honor, inside the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone.
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said in a February 1 report that security forces torture inmates at Camp Honor, citing interviews with former detainees.
In a new report on prisoner abuse in Iraq issued Tuesday, Amnesty International said urgent action was needed to end a "pattern of abuse" in Iraqi detention centers.
THE FOURTH AREA
Many preliminary terrorism interrogations take place at Camp Cropper, a former U.S. detention center turned over to the Iraqis last year and renamed Camp al-Karkh, in a little-known place called the "Fourth Area," Iraqi security officials said.
"It is a place for the detention of prisoners in accordance with article 4 of the terrorism (law), so it is named after that," a senior officer from Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Squad said. "The interrogations in this area are brutal, more brutal than the interrogations in Camp Honor."
Cropper was the last U.S. prison in Iraq and its handover ended a difficult chapter of the U.S. invasion in which thousands of people were held without charge.
In the most common methods of abuse, suspects are kicked, beaten with pieces of electric cable, hung by the arms, or burned with cigarettes, and hot metal or given electrical shocks, security officials and lawyers said.
"Some detainees have died as a result of torture. The last death occurred four or five months ago in this place (Cropper) as a result of severe beatings that led to kidney malfunction," the officer from the Counter-Terrorism Squad said.
Lawyers say proving torture in court can be difficult.
"Some of those conducting the interrogations are artists in the field of torture, and hide the evidence and facts from the judges," said a lawyer who declined to be named.