mercredi 6 mai 2009

Human Rights Violations in Northern Iraq

Who Will Say “Stop” to the Human Rights Violations in Northern Iraq?

Khanzad Barwari

21 April 2009,

The USA Department of State has recently issued World Report of Human Rights Violations in 2008. This report included widely the human rights violations in the Kurdish regional administration as well. Hence, it is revealed out once again that this region, which has been presented as "the most secure, democratic and respectful to the human rights", is in fact the area of humanity crimes.

In the part of "Illegal Arrests and Deaths" of this report, it is stated that an innocent young person of 15 years old was killed by the police in July 2008 in the village of Sreshma of Khalifan district; the officials of non-governmental organizations in the region have been prevented from visiting the prisons; torture has been done in the prisons although it is banned by law, and even the methods of torture by electricity and cold water, which causes little scars on the body, have been used. It is claimed that more than 107 people have been tortured in the prisons of the region, but the real number is more than this one as the concerned authorities are not able to pay visits to the prisons.

In the part of "Violation of Press and Political Freedoms", it is indicated that most of the newspapers and magazines have been serving to the ruling parties of KDP and PUK; especially the journalists who criticize the government have been threatened in the Kurdish region -for example Jalal Talabani filed Hawlati newspaper on January 26, 2008 because of its criticisms against himself. It is also indicated that the report of the Union of Journalists also stated that the law enforcement bodies have been using force against the journalists, and the journalist Sharzad Sheykhani has been kept arrested for one month due to the disagreement between himself and the governor of Irbil.

According to the report, there are also efforts to hinder the political freedoms; while there is legal freedom of forming organizations and holding marches in the Kurdish region, these freedoms are violated; the KDP and PUK have been exerting pressure on the citizens in order to make them member of their party; the trade, contractor works and tenders in the region are under the control of the KDP and PUK and the political and economic affairs are conducted through the kinship relations.

In the part of "Racial Discrimination and Human Trafficking", there are also some surprising findings. The report states that chastity murders are very widespread in the Kurdish region. In the period of January-July 2008, 77 women were victims of chastity murders and 211 women of self-immolation. In the period of January-November 2008, 154 women were killed in Irbil. The people in the region are not unfamiliar to the mores murders. In the year of 2007, 528 women were also died due to the same reason. The non-governmental organizations indicate that these numbers are higher than the stated ones and the real number of the cases are concealed by the Kurdish authorities.

This kind of reports reveal, in fact, the real face of the KDP and PUK which claim the leadership of the Kurds, and use all the means of the region to their own benefits and exert any kind of pressure and violence to this aim. Even though the Kurdish regional administration denies these claims, there is a need that the world public opinion and concerned organizations give ear to the voice of the people in the region.

By/ khanzad Barwari /özel

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