facebook
twitter
search
search

Protect Shiites, Human Rights Watch tells Iraq

Nov. 15, 2013 at 12:13 PM
| License Photo

BAGHDAD, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Iraqi authorities need to do more to ensure appropriate security mechanisms are in place during Muslim holy celebrations, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

The rights group said there's a pattern of attacks by Sunni extremist groups against members of the Shiite community in Iraq during the holy month of Muharram, which began Nov. 5. Ashura, the holiest day of the season, was Thursday.

"The government should do its utmost to enable Shiites to participate in holy month processions without fearing attack, but it needs to focus on thwarting attackers, and not besiege entire communities," Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The rights group said the security crackdown during the holy season was particularly harsh. It said special security teams raided homes and arrested people in droves ahead of Ashura festivities.

"Harassing entire neighborhoods exacerbates, not mitigates, the horrors Iraqis face on a daily basis," he said.

More than 40 Shiite pilgrims were killed Thursday in twin suicide bombings north of Baghdad as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, the rights group said.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
Chelsea Clinton accidentally calls Bernie 'President Sanders'
Watch every star-studded Super Bowl commercial of 2016
Susan Sarandon responds to Piers Morgan criticizing cleavage
Two Virginia Tech students plotted 13-year-old's death, prosecutors said
Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice got classified email on private accounts