U.S., Canada, EU welcome U.N. report on freedom of expression in Kurdistan

A View of the Main Square of Erbil

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S., Canada and EU on Monday welcomed a United Nations report on the status of freedom of expression and fair trials in the Kurdistan Region.

In December, U.N. Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UNAMI released a report on human rights and freedom of expression: trials in the Kurdistan Region.

In the report, the OHCHR and UNAMI expressed concern over human rights and trials in the Region, following court’s sentence of several journalists and activists.

Erbil criminal court handed jail sentences to 11 journalists and activists who were detained in Duhok in 2020 over espionage and plots to disrupt the Region’s security.

Journalist Badal Barwari and five of the activists were released after serving the time of imprisonment.

“All were charged with serious crimes, based on broad and imprecise provisions without sufficient reasoning with regards to the judgements of the court and after failing to identify or sufficiently substantiate the underlying individual conduct,” the report said.

“The right to a fair trial is a key element in ensuring the proper administration of justice, and human rights protection more generally,” it added.

The U.S., Canada and the European Union said they were ready to work with the Kurdish government to advance human rights in the Region in 2022.

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