Belkis Wille, Human Rights Watch

Belkis Wille

Human Rights Watch

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Past articles by Belkis:

Russian Strike on Kharkiv is Ukrainian Family’s Tragedy

It was late May when Oleksandra Korostelova started a new job as the administrator of a beauty salon in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Oleksandra, 26, her husband, Mykhailo, 33, and their 4-month-old baby boy had fled Kharkiv in February when Russian forces began attacking the city, Ukraine’s second-largest. → Read More

Drop Complaint Against Iraq Human Rights Commission Member

An abusive legal complaint has been filed against a member of Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) who sought to investigate allegations of torture of detainees. → Read More

Senior Military Officer Accused of Crackdown on Protesters in Iraq

The case is significant not only because it is it is one of the few instances the authorities have pursued a senior security officer for crimes committed against civilians, but also because of the failure of previous governments to take action. → Read More

Iraq’s Electoral Commission Failed People with Disabilities

In the weeks leading up to the October 10 parliamentary elections, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) promised to take steps to ensure people with disabilities could vote. But on election day, videos circulated suggested IHEC’s promises to make polling places accessible, with ballot boxes on the ground floor, went unfulfilled → Read More

Ensuring All Iraqis with Disabilities Are Able to Vote

Next week, Iraq will hold parliamentary elections, but many people with disabilities are effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places. → Read More

Why Are Russians Paying for Bombing Schools in Syria?

The Russian military marked the fifth anniversary of its intervention in the armed conflict in Syria on September 30. → Read More

Despite Prime Minister’s Promises, Disappearances Continue in Iraq

I was heartened when Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi made public commitments to investigate and punish enforced disappearances. But seven months later, his government has precious little to show for these promises → Read More

When Will Iraq Start Protecting Journalists?

A well-known TV station in Baghdad was torched by protesters after it broadcast a music concert during Ashura, a Shia holy day which was underway at the time. → Read More

The US commits the same abuses it condemns abroad

In its response to the George Floyd protests, the US failed to meet the standards that it demands of other countries. → Read More

The KRG Needs to Listen to Critics, Not Arrest Them

Over the four years that I have monitored human rights in Iraq, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials have often touted their superiority to the central government in Baghdad in respecting human rights. → Read More

Iraq's new government should lift barriers to free speech

For a decade Iraqi journalists have been threatened, beaten, prosecuted and killed, with minimal action to protect them. → Read More

Kurdish Authorities Clampdown Ahead of Protests

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRI) authorities have just hammered another nail into the proverbial coffin of free expression in Iraq, arresting dozens in an effort to prevent a planned protest. → Read More

ISIS Suspect Transfers to Iraq Replete with Risks

The death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi comes two years after ISIS lost most of its Iraq territory and less than a year after the last major battles against ISIS in Syria. → Read More

Transfer of ISIS Suspects, Including Foreigners, to Iraq Raises Torture Concerns

Last week, the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) transferred at least 280 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members to Iraq, following their arrest in Syria. Though the detainees are overwhelmingly Iraqi, there were reportedly at least thirteen French ISIS suspects among them. Their transfer to Iraq raises a critical issue: where exactly should these detainees be held? → Read More

Swedish Court Says Abuses Against ISIS Fighters Still War Crimes

On February 19, a Swedish court convicted a former Iraqi officer for war crimes against Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters in Iraq. The evidence was pictures and videos he had posted on Facebook of himself with the bodies of men who had been beheaded. → Read More

Families of Iraqi ISIS Suspects Transferred from Syria

The final pocket of Islamic State (ISIS) territory in Syria is being retaken as we speak, and for the first time, Iraqi authorities are explicitly addressing the fate of the suspected Iraqi ISIS fighters and their families who remain there. → Read More

Accounting for Civilian Victims in Iraq

It is well known that civilians have been killed during the US-led coalition’s military operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since 2014, but almost two years on from some of the heaviest bombing in the cities of Mosul and Raqqa, the coalition’s own estimates of civilian deaths are far below public estimates. → Read More

Bride’s Killing in Iraq Shows New Law Needed

The horrific case of an Iraqi woman, apparently murdered at home should prompt Iraq’s new parliament, once formed, to finally pass a draft domestic violence law which has been pending since 2015. → Read More

Four Years on, Evidence of ISIS Crimes Lost to Time

Before Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters descended on Sinjar, Iraq in August 2014, the area was home to 360,000 Yezidis. Today, at least 90 percent of the Yezidi population has been displaced, after fleeing an ISIS onslaught that killed between 2,000 and 5,500 Yezidis. → Read More

Iraqi Authorities Finally Allow Group of Families to Return Home to Anbar

Four years after being forced to flee their battle-scarred town, the families of al-Baghdadi are finally home. → Read More