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On June 12, 2014, Daesh militants marched 3000 Iraq soldiers from a previously the US operated military base, Camp Speicher, to Tikrit, 140 km north west of Baghdad. On arrival, militants divided the soldiers by religious affiliation, allowing all non-Shia to leave. Those remaining, approximately 1700 Shia soldiers, were shot and killed, execution style. Ali Hussain Kadhim was the sole survivor of the event. In an interview detailing the incident, Kadhim says he feigned death to avoid further trauma until militants left the area.

New York Times author, Tim Arango called the events at Camp Speicher the most “prolific sectarian mass killing” of Shia Muslims in Iraq since Saddam Hussain’s rule. However, the events at Camp Speicher were ignored by large media outlets.

Camp Speicher is one of many incidents of violence against Shia Muslims that go unrecognized by international entities.

In 2017 alone, 6,788 cases of anti-Shiism, or violence against Shia Muslims, were documented. It is important to note that many instances of anti-Shiism are not reported as individuals fear further persecution. Incidents of anti-Shiism include death, injury, detention, discrimination, etc. in the hands of state and local agencies.

Shia Muslims are constituents in all nations of the world. They come from different ethnic and sociopolitical backgrounds and cannot be associated with a single geographical location. Shia Rights Watch estimates 110 million Shia Muslims live in the Middle East alone. However, specific international demographics cannot be calculated. Given the lack of safety and security Shia Muslims face, many are not willing to publicly announce their faith, and many conceal their religious identity from their community, making accurate data of Shia demographics nearly impossible.

Shia Rights Watch noted June 12 as the International Shia Day in response to the lack of media recognition and global action in the promotion of Shia rights. Having an International Day encourages people to take a moment out of their day to reflect on their lives and experiences, and relate those experiences to the experiences of Shia around the world. More importantly, by recognizing and participating in the International Day for Shia Rights, the international community is showing support and solidarity for those around the world who are used to having their cries for help silenced or ignored.


Shia Rights Watch calls on you to join efforts against anti-Shiism. Below are some tips for becoming involved in International Shia Day.

  • Use #612ShiaDay on your social media accounts to join the thousands of individuals all over the world working to fight injustice. Contact us on Twitter and Facebook using @ShiaRightsWatch to show your support and to become directly involved.
  • Watch and promote https://youtu.be/dzeqQLaC36I
  • Donate to independent, non-governmental organizations that research, campaign, and advocate for Shia Rights- namely Shia Rights Watch!
  • Fill out an OHCHR Complaint with the United Nations here: http://shiarightswatch.org/ochrcomplaint/
  • Call you’re local, state and national representatives to ask for recognition of anti-Shiism.
  • Talk to your family, neighbors and community members about minority rights and individual responsibilities in promoting human rights for all.

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