Human rights violations against journalists, activists rampant in Kurdistan Region: PFP

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — In recent weeks, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has seen a surge in human rights violations, particularly against journalists and activists.

According to the Press Freedom Project (PFP), which relies mainly on Zoom News to verify its reports, April has been a difficult month for these individuals. The PFP’s latest report highlights the dire and dangerous human rights conditions in the region.

The incidents include the kidnapping, assault and torture of lawyer Muhammed Yaba Sofi, the arrest of journalists Omed Haje Baroshki and Yasir Abdulrahman, and the brutal attack on KNN TV reporter Ahmed Mustafa and his cameraman. Erbil security forces also interrupted live coverage by Shar Press outlet and prevented peaceful demonstrations by activists. These incidents violate freedom of speech and limit the ability of journalists and activists to operate in the region.

“Recent events have shown that freedom of speech is violated, and critical voices are silenced,” reads the PFP report.

Bashdar Hassan, Sherwan Sherwani’s lawyer and winner of the human rights award by the State Department, states that the Erbil Court has brought two new baseless and politically motivated charges against jailed journalist Sherwan Sherwani, who is set to be freed in September 2023.

According to PFP, these accusations reinforce the continuous suppression of reporters in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and emphasize the urgency for immediate measures to safeguard press freedom. The PFP is still demanding a stop to these wrongful actions and urges the Kurdistan Regional Government to defend the basic human right of free expression.

International entities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the PFP, have expressed apprehension regarding these occurrences. The PFP is urging the Kurdistan Regional Government to put a stop to attacks on journalists and to ensure that the freedom of speech is exercised without the threat of retribution.

The US Department of State’s Human Rights Report for 2022, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have each highlighted the dire situation of human rights in the Kurdistan Region.

The PFP is urging the Kurdistan Regional Government to put a stop to attacks on journalists and create an environment where people can express themselves freely without the fear of any consequences.

“Critical voices are necessary for the Kurdistan Region to thrive and be a prosperous and progressive community,” the report adds.

More Articles

Back to top button