Iraq in Crisis
Since Iraqi government forces lost control of much of northern Iraq to the armed group which calls itself the Islamic State (IS) last June, a wave of sectarian attacks has spiraled across Iraq. Shi’a militias continue to operate with varying degrees of cooperation from government forces. At the same time, actions by the IS have displaced thousands of people.
Rein in militias in Iraq and ensure accountability for abuses. Since Iraqi government forces lost control of much of northern Iraq to the armed group which calls itself the Islamic State (IS) last June, a wave of sectarian attacks has spiraled across Iraq. Shi’a militias, many of which have been armed and backed by the government of Iraq, continue to operate with varying degrees of cooperation from government forces. They have been abducting and killing Sunni civilian men in Baghdad and around the country. In some cases the victims were killed despite the fact that their families paid ransoms.
The victims were abducted from their homes, workplace or from checkpoints. Many were later found dead, usually shot in the back of the head and handcuffed. In some cases, men have been killed, it seems, in reprisal/revenge for IS attacks.
Other victims are still missing, their fate and whereabouts unknown, weeks and months after they were abducted. In most cases families are too scared to look for them openly, fearing that in so doing they would put themselves at risk of being abducted or killed.
Government forces have been unable or unwilling to ensure the security and protection of the civilian population allowing militias to operate with freedom and perpetrate such crimes with impunity. Some militias have been armed by the state; others, authorities have allowed to be armed. The government has allowed and encouraged militias to operate outside any legal framework, and they have not been held accountable for the crimes they have been perpetrating.
The presence of these militias preclude any possibility of establishing effective and accountable security and armed forces able and willing to protect all sectors of the population and enforce the law equally. We must not ignore the responsibility of the government of Iraq for such acts.
Link to Amnesty Report: https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/iraq-in-crisis