Iraq: UN human rights office urges investigation into use of force against protestors

The United Nations human rights office today urged the Government of Iraq to immediately conduct an independent, transparent and effective investigation into the use of force by security forces against protestors outside the Green Zone in Baghdad this past week.

In the regular bi-weekly news briefing in Geneva earlier today, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that on 20 May, four protestors were killed and up to 200 were injured after security forces used tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and some live ammunition against the demonstrators for close to two hours.

The spokesperson said that it had been reported that up to 200 people had been subsequently arrested in connection with the protest, including a group of university students.

The protestors, including women and children, hailed mainly from different areas of Baghdad that had suffered terrorist attacks, such as Sadr City, were calling on the Government to take immediate action to ensure greater accountability for those attacks and to protect their communities, Mr. Colville said.

OHCHR appealed to the Government to promptly announce an independent investigation to establish whether unnecessary or excessive force was used and to hold accountable by law any security officers who may have acted in violation of the strict standards required concerning the use of force by law enforcement officials.

Additionally, OHCHR urged the Government to ensure that the protection of civilians was paramount in its military operations to retake Fallujah.

On a separate matter, the spokesperson said that OHCHR was concerned at the announcement by the Ministry of Justice that 22 people had been executed in the past month.

Source: UN News Centre