Shia Rights Watch joins NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief
This week Shia Rights Watch joined the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief in NEW YORK. This UN affiliated organization is a sub-committee of the Conference on NGOs (CoNGO) and serves as a platform for NGOs to draw attention to issues relating to the freedoms of religious and non-religious groups. Holding its meetings next door to the United Nations, the members of this committee have been able to influence international politics through their remarkable lobbying and advocacy work.
In addition to joining the committee this week, a representative of Shia Rights Watch attended the committee’s monthly meeting.
Shia Rights Watch is grateful for this opportunity to be a part of the committee and is excited work with the other member organizations.
18 July 2015: One of the deadliest attacks on civilians in 10 years
On Friday July 17th 120 Shia Muslims were killed and approximately 130 wounded as a car bomb exploded in the predominantly Shia town of Khan Bani Saad, located in the Diyala province north of Baghdad. ISIS claimed responsibility saying that a member drove a car filled with three tons of explosives into the crowd consisting of men, women, and children celebrating the end of Ramadan. Although ISIS no longer has a strong hold on the province of Diyala, it still has influence in the area and a representative from the Iraqi government said that a current priority of the government was stabilizing the region. Shia Rights Watch continues to condemn the continued violence of ISIS and repeats calls for the Iraqi security forces to adequately protect Shia communities around the country.
20 July 2015: Another attack on a Yemeni Mosque
ISIS has claim responsibility for yet another attack near a Shia mosque. At least five were killed and seven more injured as car bomb exploded in the neighborhood of al-Jeraf near a Shia mosque. This is the second Shia mosque bombing by ISIS this month in Sana’a. This past year has witnessed an increase in mosque bombings as ISIS has increased its presence in the gulf nation. Shia Rights Watch condemns and calls for the immediate cessation of these attacks.
21 July 2015: Twenty-Two Killed in Three Separate Attacks
A series of attacks in Baghdad on July 21st left 22 Shia dead. The first attack occurred in the Zafarniyah district as a car bomb was detonated near a local gas stations. Three civilians were killed and twelve more wounded. The second attack resulted in five civilian deaths with sixteen wounded as a bomb went off in the al-Jadidah neighborhood of Baghdad. Finally, late Tuesday evening a third bomb went off in a Shia neighborhood in New Baghdad. Located in front of a busy clothing store the event resulted in fourteen deaths and thirty injuries. While bombing occur roughly daily around the city, this series of bombings were unexpected and were devastating to the Shia community in the city.
22 July 2015: Violence in Iraq continues as missiles increase casualties in Syria
Tuesday began with Al Nusra militants launching hundreds of rockets into the Shia villages of Fuaa and Kafraya located in the Idlib province of Syria. Current estimates say that the attack has left seven villagers dead and hundreds more wounded, with high levels of physical destruction as well. The villages attacked are part of the area left under the protection of the Syrian army (supported by Hezbollah). Al-Nusra says that the missile attack is a retaliation for Hezbollah’s operations at the Lebanon border.
In Iraq two separate car bomb attacks in Baghdad left a combined twenty-six dead and fifty-eight wounded. The first attack took place in the south west Baghdad neighborhood al-Bayaa. As the bomb was detonated in a crowded market eighteen were killed and thirty-six were wounded. The second attack took place later in the day in the northeastern neighborhood of al-Shaab, again in a market, leaving eight dead and twelve wounded.
July 23-24: Continued violence occurs in Iraq
Between July 23rd and July 24th three bombings killed 12 people and injured 12 others in Iraq. The first bombing was an IED which targeted the al-Madaen area of Baghdad which is predominately Shia. In this attack one civilian was killed and five others were injured. Later that day, a second IED was detonated in a Shia neighborhood in Baghdad which killed seven and injured two. On Friday July 24th, an IED was detonated in the Shia town of Taji which killed two civilians and injured seven others. As the month comes to a close, militant groups such as ISIS have ramped up attacks against Shia communities. Attacks in Iraq this month have taken hundreds of Shia lives and Shia Rights Watch urges that actions are taken to stop these senseless deaths.