The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) announced on Saturday that at least 70 people had been reported abducted or missing since the start of demonstrations in central and southern parts of Iraq.
According to an official statement, the Commission reported that 68 “protesters and activists have been abducted or reported missing due to the protests in Iraq.”
It also said 56 individuals “remain missing without any information about their whereabouts.” The development comes after authorities in Karbala Governorate released 12 activists they arrested two weeks ago, the Commission noted.
The High Commission of Human rights in “cooperation with the anti-kidnapping cell in Iraq’s Ministry of Interior continues to search and investigate the fate of those missing and [will] rescue them as soon as possible.”
Iraq has been engulfed in anti-government protests for nearly three months now, where over 500 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and demonstrators, and thousands of others injured.
News circulating on social media accuses the pro-Iranian armed groups of being behind the abduction of protesters and activists.
The protests in Iraq reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, availability of jobs, the dismal state of public services, and widespread government corruption.
Demonstrators demand that the next prime minister be independent and someone who has never held a ministerial position in successive governments.