Israa Al Dujaili
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Human rights defender
In recent years, Israa Al Dujaili has taken part in a number of events related to the issue of enforced disappearance in Iraq. Among these, on August 30, 2017, she took part in a sit-in on the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. On February 3, 2018, she attended a conference in Karada calling on Iraq to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On August 24, 2018, she joined a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Baghdad in solidarity with anti-corruption protestors in Basra. Three days later, she went to a copy shop located in the Al Saadoun neighbourhood near Al Nasser Square in Baghdad to collect posters advertising events organised by the NGO Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly on the occasion of the 2018 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. After leaving the shop, a group of men blocked her way and interrogated her about the posters she was carrying. She was verbally assaulted and subjected to threats in relation to her participation in these events. As a consequence, she fled to her sister’s home in Erbil for fear of further reprisals.
Al Dujaili believes that her assailants acted on behalf of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS), as the Ministry of Interior had issued a circular ordering all copy shops to inform the ministry about any printed publication deemed critical of the authorities in the context of the ongoing social unrest.
On October 2, 2018, a number of UN Special Procedures mandate holders raised concerns over allegations of reprisals against Al Dujaili, as well as against human rights defender Imad Al Tamimi, highlighting that their “concerns in this case are heightened by the fact that these acts of violence might be in reprisal for their cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.”
A number of other employees and volunteers of Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly have also been subjected to acts of intimidation and reprisal. On May 1, 2019, MENA Rights Group raised the cases of Israa Al Dujaili and Imad Al Tamimi with the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights ahead of the preparation of the Secretary-General’s 2019 report on reprisals.