The Iraqi government failed in 2021 to deliver on promises to hold to account those responsible for the abuse of protesters, activists, journalists, and critics of political elites and the Popular Mobilization Forces, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2022.
The abuses included arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. In this accountability vacuum, armed groups fired three armed drones at the home of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on November 7 in an apparent attempt to kill him.
“The attempted assassination of Prime Minister al-Kadhimi vividly captures the impunity of Iraq’s armed groups,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “They are not afraid to launch even a brazen attack on the country’s leader.”
In the 752-page World Report 2022, its 32nd edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in nearly 100 countries. Executive Director Kenneth Roth challenges the conventional wisdom that autocracy is ascendent. In country after country, large numbers of people have recently taken to the streets, even at the risk of being arrested or shot, showing that the appeal of democracy remains strong. Meanwhile, autocrats are finding it more difficult to manipulate elections in their favor. Still, he says, democratic leaders must do a better job of meeting national and global challenges and of making sure that democracy delivers on its promised dividends.