The Iraqi provinces that witnessed angry demonstrations in October 1st, 2019, which demanded the end of corruption and nepotism in all parts of the Iraqi state, accountability for those causing the disruption the country is facing, grant and guarantee freedoms, and end the restrictions imposed by the authorities and armed groups, are still unsafe environments for activists and human rights defenders, and perhaps the most prominent confirmation of this is the authorities’ attempts to pursue malicious lawsuits against activists and human rights defenders with the aim of blackmailing and harming them without achieving the minimum requirements for compliance with the constitution and Iraqi laws that guarantee the existence of guarantees and requirements that prevent the occurrence of Psychological and material damage. And what happened with the activist (Jassem Al-Amiri) and his arrest on a malicious plea does not go beyond a non-last attempt to blackmail the activists with the authorities’ intention to harm them.
We in the “Protect Human Rights Defenders in Iraq, Now” campaign, the Iraqi and international civil society, peace activists and human rights defenders received this news with great shock as it undoubtedly indicates
That the authorities have returned to the attempts in silencing mouths based on the apparent activism of activists In the Iraqi protest movement and its rejection of the continuation of the sectarian-ethnic quota system and its recycling, as activists in Basra, especially with the approaching assignment of the new ministry, are still demanding their civil and political rights guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution, ensuring their work, ending corruption, providing basic needs, holding the killers of demonstrators accountable, justice for their families, and building the state. Civil society by mobilizing people to pressure to achieve these legitimate demands through the use of social media, which seems to be unpopular with many political forces and armed groups.
The recent malicious lawsuits have proven that the chances of imposing the rule of law and implement the system fairly has become almost diminished, which raises concerns about the future of freedoms in Iraq; unless we take a firm and strong stand against the active systematic arrest operations against the activists, then we are bound to witness more violations. And after the recurrent systematic targeting of activists, journalists and writers, and many of them who fell victims to their opinions and positions; freedom of expression is now subject to the approval of the outlaws.
To protect democracy and civil rights guaranteed by the constitution, recent events have sparked a wave of popular frustration and anger that has prevailed on social networking sites. Therefore, the government must expedite the avoidance of the consequences of this anger and frustration by showing serious actions in dealing with this file and closing it completely, and it bears responsibility for what happens if such practices continue furthermore. And that the government is required to expedite the disclosure of the fate of the detainee (Jassem Al-Amiri) and the rest of the activists who were arrested in earlier times, and in separate areas in Iraq, and others who are still being pursued, and the need to end the chaos of arrest warrants, and protect civil liberties in Iraq.
The Campaign “Protect Human Rights Defenders, NOW!” expresses its concern and condemnation of these barbaric acts, and we stand against them. Therefore, we call on the Supreme Judicial Council, the central and local governments and stakeholders to close and drop all false and malicious lawsuits of a political nature.
Protect Human Rights Defenders in Iraq, NOW!” campaign.
26th March, 2022