Although the overall security situation in Iraq has gradually improved, the conditions for minority communities of the country’s diverse population remain extremely distressing. Investigations throughout 2009 by Minority Rights Group International’s (MRG’s) partner in Iraq, Iraqi Minorities Organization (IMO), coupled with secondary research sourced from 2009 and the first half of 2010, lay bare the frequent bombings, torture, arbitrary arrest, intimidation, displacement and marginalization facing Iraq’s cultural and religious minorities.
The research focuses on the Kurdistan Region; Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces in the north; and Baghdad, given the concentration of minorities in these areas, collecting accounts primarily from Christians, Faili Kurds, Shabaks, Turkmen and Yazidis. The report details evidence of violence against these communities, including targeted killings, gender-based violence and attacks on religious sites; arbitrary arrests and intimidation; political disenfranchisement; internal displacement and resulting loss of property; and discrimination in accessing public services. It finds that violence and marginalization has occurred for reasons ranging from territorial disputes between Arabs and Kurds, to religious bias, political representation and long-standing patterns of discrimination.