Iraq: Beyond the Elections

News and Press Release
Originally published

(Baghdad, April 30, 2014) – Polls have closed in Iraq’s April 30, 2014 elections, the country’s first since the withdrawal of US forces. Voting is reported to have been completed without the serious levels of violence many anticipated, though several people died outside of Baghdad in attacks on polling places. Human Rights Watch nevertheless remains deeply troubled by human rights conditions in Iraq, which is experiencing its worst levels of violence since 2008.

Armed groups such as The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) have committed atrocious attacks on civilians that likely amount to crimes against humanity. The government’s response has often been excessive and rife with abuse, as has the response of Shia militias fighting alongside government forces. The fighting in Anbar province has left hundreds of people dead and displaced more than half the area’s residents.

“Whoever wins the election should be judged on how they work to end the serious human rights violations that plague Iraq, and on whether they govern fairly for all Iraqis, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or sect,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

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