The 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
28 February to 1 April 2022
Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading, treatment or punishment
11 March 2022
Statement of Meezan Center for Human Rights
By Yasmine Darwish / GICJ
Thank you, President,
We thank the Special Rapporteur for his report and emphasize the need for a visit to Iraq, a visit that has been requested since 2007 but has received no positive response from the Iraqi authorities.
Despite hosting massive and systematic human rights violations, Iraq has been overlooked in the 19 years since the illegal US-led invasion in 2003. Since then, Iraq suffers from one of the highest rates of torture in the world where both government forces and militias are to blame.
The Iraqi criminal justice system relies heavily on confessions, which is a key factor that encourages torture. For fear of repercussions, detainees who witnessed torture don't testify against officials, making perpetrators almost untouchable. While torture is a well-known practice in all detention centers, it is an "unspoken crime" that occurs behind closed doors.
Despite, the universal nature of the prohibition of torture, Iraqi authorities justify abusive detention and interrogation practices under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Yet, credible reports confirm that most of those tortured are innocent civilians.
Torture can occur anywhere. How a government responds determines whether it’s an abuse or a state policy. So far, Iraq avoids effective investigation leaving proven victims without redress or rehabilitation.
That’s why Meezaan, EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice ask you to urge the Iraqi authorities to do everything possible to schedule this visit. Mr Special Rapporteur, what obstacles need to be overcome to make this happen?
Without accountability, all crimes committed against Iraqi civilians remain statistics.