Twenty-five protesters still missing in Iraq after being abducted: UNAMI

Demonstrators gather at a protest in Baghdad, Iraq October 5, 2019. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

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SULAIMANI — The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on Saturday (May 23) that 25 people remain missing after being disappeared during the anti-government protests that began last October.

In a special human rights report, UNAMI said that it had documented 123 cases of people being abducted between October 1 and March 21. Of those, 98 have been located, but the remainder are still missing or are in an unknown status.

The report said that many of those who were abducted said unnamed militias were responsible for their kidnappings.

It added that it had verified the deaths of 490 activists during the protests and that 7,783 others were injured. Other sources place the number of injured much higher.

“The abductions and disappearances occurred amid numerous incidents involving additional violations and abuses targeting activists and protesters, including deliberate killings, shooting and knife attacks, threats and intimidation, and excessive and unlawful use of force at demonstration sites,” UNAMI said in a press release.

It noted that “absence of accountability for these acts continues to contribute to the pervasive environment of impunity in relation to demonstration-linked reports of violations and abuses” and called for the government to establish a “high-level fact finding committee” to investigate all allegations of human rights violations by armed groups during the demonstrations.

Additionally, it recommended that the government comply with its obligations under international law and make all efforts to locate the missing protesters, take immediate action to protect protesters and activists from abduction, and publicly identify those behind the abductions.

(NRT Digital Media)