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PHR Condemns Excessive and Lethal Force Against Protestors in Iraq


Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is gravely concerned by the use of excessive, unlawful, and lethal force by Iraqi security forces against protestors across the country, which has reportedly resulted in at least 250 deaths and thousands of injuries.

PHR has received reports from organizations in Iraq, including the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, that have documented security forces’ reckless use of live ammunition, tear gas, hot water, sound bombs, rubber bullets, and batons against demonstrators during the past month of mass demonstrations.

The following statement is attributed to Susannah Sirkin, director of policy at PHR:

“PHR calls for an immediate, independent, and thorough investigation into the widespread killings and human rights abuses taking place in cities across Iraq.

“We condemn the use of excessive and lethal force by Iraqi security forces and anti-riot police, as well as violence by any party.

“Reports of indiscriminate use of tear gas are particularly concerning, as these so-called ‘non-lethal weapons’ can have deadly consequences and prolonged health impacts, as PHR has documented around the world.

“PHR urges the Iraqi government to de-escalate the situation, cease the reckless use of tear gas and other crowd-control weapons, protect civilians against violence by state- and non-state actors, and support independent investigations into these abuses.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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