No trace of hundreds of forcibly disappeared people in Al-Anbar
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said that more than 600 people had been missing in June 2016, and there were no government follow-ups to track their trace which represented a real shock to their parents, who are waiting for information even if it's bad about their children.
Five families from Ameriya Al-Fallujah camp reported to the Iraqi Human Rights Observatory that they are still searching for their lost children during their escape from Falluja to Amiriya Al-Fallujah district in 2016. The families haven't received any information from the Iraqi government about the fate of their children.
In June 2016, while the Iraqi security forces and their support forces were working to liberate Al-Anbar province from ISIS, thousands of residents of Al-Anbar province emigrated towards the district of Amiriya Al-Fallujah and Bzebez bridge to reach Baghdad, but 600 or more people disappeared along the road and their fate is still unknown.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said the testimonies of the dispeared people families indicate the presence of dozens of children among those who disappeared while trying to escape from war zones. This is a matter of great concern, and government actions can not remain hidden or shy about this file.
A group of eyewitnesses whom we met at Amiriya camp in Falluja west of Baghdad said that "armed men in uniform clothes took the men and isolated them from women in a desert area as they were passing to reach the areas controlled by the Iraqi army."
She also said that "civilian buses transported those who were isolated to other places, no one knows them, they put them in the buses without telling them where they are heading or identify themselves while they were surrounding them with weapons.”
one of those who had been isolated and released weeks later said” We were beaten and tortured and stayed for days without any food or drink, we couldn't find a place to defecate or to sleep or to sit, we use to sleep with our hands tied while sitting and sleeping in the same position and no one treated us with respect".
He also said
"There was no interrogation and no one asked us, they were always torturing us with water, electric shocks or even sticks and iron. The beating was brutal and random without knowing why we are being beaten or why we are here, for what cause we have committed or the identity of the people who is torturing us.
In June 2016, the office of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi formed a committee to investigate the disappearances and abuses involved in the context of the military operations to restore Falluja. Anbar province also took the same step and also formed an investigative committee which later indicated that the displaced people who disappeared are registered as missing persons.
The Iraqi government has not taken any serious steps to determine the fate of these disappeared people as they are on their way to salvage from ISIS and trying to be far away from the battle zones between the Iraqi government forces and ISIS.
In article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, enforced disappearance is defined as "arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by State agents, persons or groups of individuals acting with the permission or support of the State Or with their consent, followed by refusal to recognize deprivation of liberty or concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, thereby depriving him of the protection of the law. The Convention states that "the practice of general or systematic enforced disappearance is a crime against humanity".
a woman in her fourth decade said that
"She lost her husband and brother, and now she lives in the camp with her family she wants to know anything about them or any news, Two and a half years ago I haven't heard anything about them. Where were they? Why did they disappear? are they alive or dead?.
She also added ”Some of those who were released talked to us about the torture they were subjected to, they did not know my husband or my brother, they were hundreds, maybe they were isolated in more than one place."
Her mother also talked to the observatory in tears ”my only son, I don't know his fate, When the women and men were isolated in the desert, I expected that I would never see my son again, isolation means that there is calamity.
she told the Iraqi Human Rights "I could not go outside the camp to look for him, no one knows him and I do not know where he is, I do not expect him to be alive, but I'm still waiting for him, being disappeared for that long doesnt mean he is alive, at least I want to recover his body.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights request the Iraqi government and concerned parties to take the necessary steps to reduce the practice of enforced disappearance, to follow up outstanding cases and to provide support and compensation for the families of the disappeared people.
The Observatory asserts that the continued lack of interest of Iraqi governments in cases of enforced disappearance may harm Iraq's reputation in the human rights record and place it at the forefront of countries experiencing terrible human rights violations. Committees established at earlier times to investigate enforced disappearances must report their findings and not postponed it.