The Iraqi army has unlawfully evicted dozens of families from a village north of Baghdad since July 2021 in an apparent family feud involving a government minister, Human Rights Watch said today. The 91 families from al-Aetha, a village in Salah al-Din governorate, were sent to a displacement camp without any of their possessions.
The families from al-Aetha had been forced out of their village years earlier during fighting between the government and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). Many had previously been forcibly evicted by local and security authorities from displacement camps and made to return to their village. Those displaced recently say they were evicted as part of a family feud involving a government minister, who is from the village, and his brother, who had married a woman also from the village with alleged past ties to an ISIS member. The authorities should immediately halt the evictions and punish all officials responsible for the abuse of their authority.
“For years Iraqi authorities have claimed they are moving communities into or out of camps for their own protection or best interests,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “But the case of these villagers being ping-ponged between their village and displacement camps is yet again proof that these evictions are often about the authorities’ personal or political considerations rather than the well-being of those affected.”