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The Iraqi Government Must Investigate Enforced Disappearances in Conflict Zones

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The monitoring network at IOHR receives several reports from Salahadin and Anbar Provinces about the disappearance of persons between the ages of 15 and 60 during the military operations there. The victims' families did not submit any reports because they were not aware who was responsible for the forced disappearances, or sometimes they neglected to report cases in order to protect their disappeared relatives.

 

 

1 - 5 - 2017

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR) stated that the Iraqi Government is required to investigate cases of enforced disappearance in the areas that saw military operations to liberate them from ISIS.

The monitoring network at IOHR receives several reports from Salahadin and Anbar Provinces about the disappearance of persons between the ages of 15 and 60 during the military operations there. The victims' families did not submit any reports because they were not aware who was responsible for the forced disappearances, or sometimes they neglected to report cases in order to protect their disappeared relatives.

In July 2017, IOHR documented cases of enforced disappearance of student in the Iraqi Air Forces in Salahadin Province during the first days of ISIS control in Nineveh and Salahadin provinces.

In the western parts of Nineveh that are still witnessing fierce fighting between Iraqi Government forces supported by the international coalition against ISIS, 160 cases of enforced disappearance against civiians were discovered by the end of April.

"160 young men were abducted during their escape from Al Hadar district less than a week ago, and their fate is not yet known," said Ali al-Ahmadi, Qaim Maqam (governor) of Al-Hadar district, in an interview with IOHR.

Al-Ahmadi believes that gunmen belonging to the Tribal Units in Mosul were the ones who kidnapped civilians for political reasons".

Members of the monitoring network at IOHR tried to speak to the families of one of the 160 abductees, but were unable to as their families had not yet been known.

None of the families in the Um al-Jarabiyeh refugee camp in Tal Abtah, a camp for those displaced form Al Hadar district, reported the disappearance of any of their children. However, official sources in the camp expected that the abductees would be from other areas close to the district.

Sources stated that "The abductees may be from the villages near Al Hadar district, and were kidnapped during their attempt to leave the district as they made their way to the Tel Abtah camp." Those same sources spoke about the existence of several tribal and political conflicts in Mosul, that pushed certain parties to use their influence and take up arms against those civilians they perceive as a threat.

A member of the Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Mohammad Karbouli, said: "902 civilians disappeared last year on the hands of armed groups in the district of Razaza in Anbar province".

In the Amriyat Al-Fallujah refugee camp, west of Baghdad, the IOHR monitoring network spoke with two women and three men, all of whom said they had sons, brothers and husbands who disappeared during their displacement from Falluja about a year ago when military operations began to liberate the district in Anbar province.

A woman from Anbar, said that her three children were kidnapped by unidentified armed men, on the road between Falluja and Amiriyat Al Falluja districts. The 60-year-old woman cried as she begged for help to “get her children back".

On April 30, a representative in Salahadin province in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Dhia al-Duri, said during a press conference held with a number of council members: "The fates of 4000 citizens from Salahadin province were kidnapped by various incidents whose details are still unknown.” Al Duri held Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi responsible, legally and nationally, to save the lives of the disappeared civilians, and to reveal their fate".

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR) states that Iraq's ratification on November 24, 2010, of the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, obliges the Iaqi Government to prevent enforced disappearances, punish those responsible, and protect all victims.

IOHR calls on the Iraqi Government to announce the results of its investigations, which are supposed to have emerged from the commissions of inquiry that were formed previously for cases of enforced disappearance in Iraq, and not to allow the perpetrators of these violations to escape impunity.

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