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UPR of Iraq – MRG and Ceasefire’s submission

28 March 2019

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) and the Ceasefire Center for Civilian Rights have submitted a written contribution ahead of the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iraq, scheduled for November 2019.

Our submission provides information and recommendations about the human rights of minorities in Iraq, including including Turkmen, Shabak, Yezidis, Sabaean-Mandaeans, Baha’i, Chaldo-Assyrian and Armenian Christians, Kaka’i, Zoroastrians, Faili Kurds, Roma, and Black Iraqis.

The full report can be accessed here.

MRG’s suggestions of recommendations include:

  • Develop a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, including strong, effective and accessible enforcement mechanisms.
  • Actively implement equal opportunities policies to ensure that minorities have equal access to services and employment opportunities.
  • Repeal all legislation contradicting the constitutional provisions relating to freedom of religion.
  • End the discrimination against Baha’is with regard to citizenship and identity documents, as well as any legal prohibitions on practicing the Baha’i faith, and speed up the process of re-nationalisation of persons previously denaturalised on political, religious or ethnic grounds.
  • Amend the electoral laws to increase the number of reserved seats for minorities.
  • Take necessary and effective measures to improve the security of minority communities, in consultation with the communities themselves.
  • Set up an independent investigative commission to identify corrupt government officials and to make recommendations to ensure that such practices are ended.
  • Allocate resources to building or restoring essential infrastructure and services in marginalized communities, including retaken areas as well as those where Roma and Black Iraqis live.
  • Initiate prompt, impartial and in Institute special measures for minorities registering poor levels of education, such as Roma and Black Iraqis.
  • Amend educational curricula to diversify religious education and remove discriminatory or offensive references to minority religions.
  • Initiate prompt, impartial and independent investigations of attacks on minorities and prosecute those found to be responsible, respecting international standards of due legal process.
  • Ensure that all government forces, including Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and affiliated militias, fall under unified command and control that is accountable to the Government of Iraq (or, for the Kurdistan Region, to the Kurdistan Regional Government). Disband any other armed militias and implement an effective process of demobilization, disarmament and re-integration (DDR).
  • Conduct prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into all instances of alleged assassinations, extrajudicial executions or other arbitrary killings by PMF or by ISF or police, make the results of such investigations public, and ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.
  • Immediately cease all practices which will prevent returns and ensue demographic change, including looting, destruction of property, allocation of property and resources to particular ethnic or religious groups, in favour over others.
  • Pass a law on enforced disappearances to implement Iraq’s obligations under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
  • Ensure that prosecutions of those accused of ISIS crimes reflect the gravity of the conduct for which they are allegedly responsible and that trials are conducted under international fair trial standards.
  • Acknowledge violations committed by all parties to the conflict and ensure that all victims are eligible for reparation under Law 20 on Compensation for Victims of Military Operations, Military Mistakes and Terrorist Actions.
  • Work with civil society and regional and local authorities to mediate disputes between tribes, militia and returning populations to avoid revenge, forced or denied return and renewed displacement.
  • Provide adequate psychosocial support to victims of the conflict, particularly minority survivors of sexual slavery and children indoctrinated by ISIS.
  • Amend the Penal Code to include minimum sentences for rape and sexual assault and repeal provisions which enable perpetrators to evade or mitigate punishment through citing ‘honour’ motives; and withdrawreservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
  • Carry out thorough and impartial investigations into crimes against women, including crimes committed by members of the police, Iraqi security forces, and PMF.

MRG – Ceasefire submission for the UPR of Iraq – 2019