Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] on Thursday that Iraqi security officials are detaining thousands of women illegally and subjecting them to torture, ill-treatment and threats of sexual abuse. HRW found that officials are coercing confessions and holding trial proceedings far below the international standard. HRW's report includes interviews with imprisoned women, their families, their lawyers and prison medical staff, along with court documents and information from meetings with Iraqi officials. This report came after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki [BBC profile] promised to reform Iraq's criminal justice system in January 2013. Maliki said that his reforms would begin with releasing falsely imprisoned women.
The human rights situation in Iraq remains fragile. In June, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) released a report [JURIST report] which urged Iraqi leaders to develop measures addressing the growing trend of human rights abuses in Iraq. In July 2012 UNAMI condemned [JURIST report] a coordinated string of bombings and shootings in 13 cities, including Baghdad, that killed at least 91 people and injured nearly 200 more. In May 2012 UNAMI reported that the human rights situation in Iraq continued to struggle during the nation's transition from a decade-long dictatorship to a peaceful democratic system. UNAMI reported [JURIST report] in August 2011 that human rights abuses continued to plague various regions of Iraq. In December 2008 UNAMI stated [JURIST report] that while general security conditions in Iraq have improved, human rights violations continued, particularly with respect to the treatment of detainees in the country.