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MRG’s reaction to the Iraq report of the UN Special Rapporteur on internally displaced peoples (IDPs)

20 June 2016

Human Rights Council – 32nd Session
Geneva, Monday 20th June 201

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (item 3)

Speaker: Ms. Mays Al-Juboori

Thank you Mr. President,

Professor Beyani,

Minority Rights Group International welcomes your report on Iraq, as a timely and most needed investigation into the situation of internally displaced people.

The assaults committed by ISIS since January 2014 and the ensuing conflicts across Iraq have pushed the IDP population to over 3.4 million people. The report rightly highlights the severe humanitarian circumstances of these IDPs, including mass critical shelter conditions, lack of services and the widespread inability to access financial resources. MRG and the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights have also documented the situation of IDPs in our recent report on ‘Iraq’s Displacement Crisis’.

The protracted violence in Iraq exposes victims of displacement to continued abuse, while perpetrators of crimes under international law benefit from impunity. MRG is also concerned by the discriminatory nature of some of the measures taken to address the security challenge, including restrictions on IDP movement, arbitrary arrests, destruction of IDP property and reported killings of displaced individuals based on ethnic or religious identity.

Whilst the report warns of prospective mass displacement resulting from an offensive in Mosul, the ongoing military assault on the city of Fallujah is triggering new waves of displacement, and is a glaring example of the need to establish precautionary protection and humanitarian measures, both for those civilians remaining in the city and for those fleeing violence.

Selective IDP return policies and barriers to return based on sect or ethnicity suggest widespread attempts at demographic reengineering, and consequent further marginalisation of displaced communities.

The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, supported by the international community, should establish post-ISIS strategies that provide durable and non-discriminatory solutions for IDPs and returnees, including restitution, reconciliation and the reestablishment of services, security and the rule of law.

I thank you.