Calls Attention to Failure of the Rule of Law, Rape by Army Personnel, Torching of Crops
Geneva, Switzerland: 20 June 2019
On 19 June 2019, Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) sent a letter to Mme. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, informing her of several pressing human rights situations in need of attention in the Republic of Iraq.
In the letter, GICJ explained how the rule of law is but a shadow of a promise in Iraq. The official promise of observing and upholding the rule of law is a mere platitude voiced by politicians because it is the appropriate thing to say. Unfortunately, the reality is that Iraq’s judiciary is not independent, and its legal proceedings are commonly subject to outside meddling by political interests including militias. GICJ again relayed to the High Commissioner the abhorrent actions of militias in Iraq, providing examples of how, in spite of gaining political power with formal positions in parliament and the government, militias continue to use violence to engage in arrests and extortion of payments for political and sectarian purposes. GICJ also reported on the systematic use of rape by official army personnel as a tool for exercising power and control, especially targeting the large numbers of displaced people across Iraq.
GICJ also called attention to the recent burning of crops in fields across Iraq. After heavy spring rains, Iraq is enjoying an unusually rich harvest after years of relying on food imports from Iran. Shockingly, though, many fields are being set ablaze in the northern portion of the country before farmers are able to harvest. The situation is not only ruining the livelihood of many farmers and communities, it is also keeping the country dependent on Iranian imports. Security forces claim that ISIS elements have been setting the fires; however, GICJ informed the High Commissioner of what is well-known within Iraq: That the burning fields are actually the result of militia activities and not ISIS.
GICJ continues to point out the grave human rights consequences resulting from the domestic chaos left behind after the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq 16 years ago. The country continues to suffer from weak governance and high levels of corruption that permit severe and ongoing human rights violations against millions of Iraqis. GICJ urges the High Commissioner to take immediate action to address these urgent issues and to work with UN agencies and the international community to ban the militias otherwise the many human rights violations in Iraq will continue.
GICJ articles on Iraq: