Iraq: Investigate Abuses in Hawija Operation Armed Units Linked to Abuse, Disappearances of Villagers
Iraqi villagers have accused units within the Iraqi government’s armed forces of abuses in the ongoing battle to take the city of Hawija, Human Rights Watch said today. Units of the Popular Mobilization Forces (known as the PMF or Hashd al-Sha'abi) affiliated with the Badr Organization detained and beat male villagers in a nearby village and took away four men without telling the men’s families where they were being taken or why, villagers told Human Rights Watch.
In 2016, the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund (IHPF) became the second largest of all OCHA-managed country-based pooled funds (CBPF) globally. With generous contributions amounting to USD 102 million at a time when military operations to retake Fallujah and Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) saw an upsurge in humanitarian needs, the IHPF disbursed USD 88.3 million to 55 partners to implement 135 projects.
US Should End Support for Abusive Iraqi 16th Division
(Beirut) – An Iraqi army division trained by the United States government allegedly executed several dozen prisoners in Mosul’s Old City, Human Rights Watch said today. Two international observers detailed the summary killings of four people by the Iraqi army’s 16th Division in mid-July 2017, and saw evidence that the unit had executed many more people, including a boy.
The US government should suspend all assistance and support to the 16th Division pending Iraq’s full investigation of the allegations and appropriate prosecutions, Human Rights Watch said. Under the “Leahy Law,” the US is prohibited from providing military assistance to any unit of foreign security forces if there is credible evidence that the unit has committed gross violations of human rights and no “effective measures” are being taken to bring those responsible to justice.
“The US government should make sure it is no longer providing assistance to the Iraqi unit responsible for this spate of executions but also suspend any plans for future assistance until these atrocities have been properly investigated,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Given the widespread abuses by Iraqi forces and the government’s abysmal record on accountability, the US should take a hard look at its involvement with Iraqi forces.” Two international observers independently told Human Rights Watch that on a day in mid-July at about 10 a.m. in Mosul’s Old City, they saw a group of Iraqi soldiers who identified themselves as members of the 16th Division lead four naked men down an alleyway, after which they heard multiple gunshots. The observers said other soldiers standing in the street told them that the four men were Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters.
The battle for west Mosul has caused a civilian catastrophe
Civilians in west Mosul 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 unlawful attacks by Iraqi government forces and members of the US-led coalition (hereon referred to as pro-government forces). In March and May 2017, Amnesty International researchers visited northern Iraq to document violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses by all sides of the conflict in west Mosul. The findings were published today in a new report:
Nowhere To Go: Children in Iraq trapped in cycles of violence and poverty as conflict reaches unprecedented levels
Three years since the intensification of violence in Iraq, children are trapped in an endless cycle of violence and increasing poverty, according to a UNICEF assessment, Nowhere to Go.
“Across Iraq, children continue to witness sheer horror and unimaginable violence,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq. “They have been killed, injured, abducted and forced to shoot and kill in one of the most brutal wars in recent history.”
In west Mosul, children are being deliberately targeted and killed to punish families and deter them from fleeing the violence. In less than two months, at least 23 children have been killed and 123 have been injured in that part of the city alone.
Iraq: Dozens Found Handcuffed, Executed in, around Mosul - Evidence Points to Killings by Government Forces
(Beirut) – At least 26 bodies of blindfolded and handcuffed men have been found in government held areas in and around Mosul since the operation to retake the city began in October 2016, Human Rights Watch said today.
There is growing concern that 9 days after the Iraqi elections no results have been posted, with government sources claiming that no announcement will be made until the end of May.
Political leaders in Iraq who have already expressed dismay at widespread vote rigging during the elections, now fear that further backstage manipulation of the results is taking place in an attempt to secure a third term for the deeply unpopular and autocratic Nouri al-Maliki.
'Iraqi Youth: Challenges and Opportunities' Report
Through factual analysis and the integration of the vision and priorities of Iraqi youth, this report develops an integrated structure that combines youth issues with various dimensions of the development process. This will help to develop policies that address the role of the youth in the current and future human development process.
And what makes the recommendations of this report even more important is that many of them reflect a reality that our youth teams and field work groups have explored through interviewing young Iraqis of different genders, ethnicities, education levels, and social and geographical backgrounds.
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