September’s independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan has pushed Baghdad to take control of Kirkuk and its oil fields from Kurdish control. To avert the threat of further direct confrontation, the two sides must agree to a reinvigorated UN-led effort to settle longstanding disputes over internal boundaries and shared oil revenues.
After the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) occupation in July 2017, Refugees International (RI) traveled to Iraq to examine the specific challenges faced by women and girls in the aftermath of the military operation. Among the most urgent issues are the detention and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of Iraqi women and girls perceived or alleged to be affiliated with ISIS by Iraqi Security Forces and other Iraqi authorities. For the security of the survivors and the humanitarians in whom they have confided, RI did not directly interview any of the affected women and girls. However, RI interviewed dozens of humanitarian actors with knowledge of violations occurring in camps in Ninewa, Salaheddin, and Anbar governorates. Based on the consistency of reporting and the experience and reputations of the actors involved, RI believes the information provided in this brief is credible and merits the concern of the government of Iraq and organizations with responsibility for humanitarian issues in the wake of military operations to defeat ISIS.
Country policy and information notes.
The battle for west Mosul has caused a civilian catastrophe. Civilians have been ruthlessly exploited by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), which has systematically moved them into zones of conflict, used them as human shields and prevented them from escaping to safety. They have also been subjected to relentless and unlawful attacks by Iraqi government forces and members of the US-led coalition. Residents of west Mosul count themselves lucky if they escape with their lives.
Three years since the intensification of violence in Iraq, children are trapped in an endless cycle of violence and increasing poverty.
A report just released by the ICRC estimates that fifty million people currently bear the brunt of war in cities around the world. http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/4312_002_Urban-Warfare_web_new_EN.pdf
On 4 May, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) launched an offensive from the northwest of the area held by Islamic State (IS) in Mosul, along the boundaries of the neighbourhoods of Musharifah, Khanisah and al Haramat. With hundreds of thousands of civilians still believed to be trapped in west Mosul, this new front has triggered displacement from that area. Since the beginning of the operation to recapture Mosul from IS on 17 October 2016, over 806,200 people have been displaced from Mosul as of 4 June.
Minority communities in Iraq fear their ancestral lands will be stolen by government-backed forces as ISIS is pushed back, a new report finds. Territories ‘liberated’ from ISIS months ago remain occupied by Shi’a militias, Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraq Security Forces while Yezidis, Christians, Shabak and Turkmen have yet to return, a coalition of international NGOs reports.
Index number: MDE 14/5386/2017. Proliferation of arms and ammunition to militias across Iraq has had devastating impacts on civilians, dragging the country into a spiral of insecurity and instability. In the context of the conflict against IS, militias operating under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have extrajudicially executed, tortured and abducted thousands of men and boys. The PMU continue to use a wide range of arms and ammunition to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law with impunity. Far stricter controls on the transfer of arms are needed to avoid further serious violations of human rights.