Iraq

Two years after ‘liberation,’ civilians in Mosul denied justice, reparations – new report

January 2020

Over two years since the recapture of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Iraqi civilians have been largely denied the right to reparations they are owed by parties to the conflict, according to a new report by the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International.

Read the report here: Mosul after the Battle: Reparations for civilian harm and the future of Ninewa

35,000 claims from victims of the war against ISIS in Mosul — including thousands who lost their homes or relatives as a result of bombardment by the US-led coalition – have now been lodged with the Iraqi government. Mosul served as the capital of the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate for some three years. The intensity and length of the military campaign to defeat ISIS left much of the city reduced to rubble and caused between 9,000 to 11,000 civilian casualties. Airstrikes carried out by the international coalition were responsible for the second highest number of civilian deaths.

‘The Iraqi government is now being asked to pay compensation to the victims of international coalition bombing, while the coalition itself washes its hands,’ says Mark Lattimer, Director of the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights. ‘The US, the UK and other members of the coalition should meet their responsibilities towards victims or risk creating a legacy of anger and resentment in Mosul.’

While all parties to the conflict are required under international law to pay reparations for violations against civilians, so far this responsibility has been assumed almost exclusively by the Government of Iraq. Iraq’s Law 20 on ‘Compensating the Victims of Military Operations, Military Mistakes and Terrorist Actions’ provides civilians with an avenue to access desperately-needed monetary compensation for personal or property damage suffered as a result of the fighting in Mosul and elsewhere. 35,000 applications from residents of Mosul and the wider governorate of Ninewa who suffered under the ISIS occupation or the military campaign to retake the city have been processed from mid-2017 until November 2019. 5,850 of the claims relate to martyrdom (deaths), and 2,700 relate to physical injuries leading to disability. Some 24,000 claims for property damage have also been sent to Baghdad for approval. The total sum of compensation awarded is expected to exceed US $ 100 million.

However, pay-outs are slow in coming and the procedure to file a claim under Law 20 is cumbersome, lengthy, and marred by allegations of corruption, leaving many civilians frustrated and hopeless, the report finds. Moreover, the mechanism fails to acknowledge the full responsibility of the US-led coalition to provide reparations to civilians in cases of wrongful conduct by coalition members.

The law also falls short of recognizing the systematic and targeted nature of the crimes perpetrated against Iraqi minority communities. For example, it is completely silent on sexual violence and child conscription, which were both used as part of ISIS’ genocidal campaign against the Yazidi minority. An estimated 3,000 Yazidis remain missing up to this day.

‘Reparations are about more than just giving civilians a means to rebuild their homes or access medical treatment – they are about acknowledging harm and restoring dignity,’ says Miriam Puttick, Civilian Rights Officer at Minority Rights Group International. ‘This is particularly important for members of minorities, whose very sense of identity and belonging were attacked in the recent conflict.’

The report recommends strengthening the mechanism to ‘Compensate Victims of Military Operations, Military Mistakes and Terrorist Actions’ under Law 20, through easier evidentiary conditions for compensation. New legislation recognising war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity should also be drawn up under Iraqi criminal law.

The report also recommends the creation of a comprehensive reparations programme or fund addressing the harm inflicted by international coalition action within the anti-ISIS campaign.

‘Mosul was the epicentre of the battle against ISIS and will set the standard for transitional justice in Iraq’ says Lattimer. ‘How Iraqi authorities and the US-led coalition handle reparations in Mosul is a test case for Iraq’s future.’

Note for editors:

Mosul after the Battle is published by the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International on 22 January 2020. This report was written on the basis of in-depth interviews conducted in Iraq between November and December 2019. For a wider analysis of reparations in Iraq, please see our report Reparations for the Victims of Conflict in Iraq (2017), available at: https://www.ceasefire.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Reparations-in-Iraq-Ceasefire-November-2017.pdf

For the Arabic version of this report, please click here.

اضغط هنا للحصول على النسخة العربية من هذا التقرير

For further information or interviews e-mail: contact@ceasefire.org

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Iraq joint statement: Stop the killing of activists

December 2019 update

Civilian activists across cities in central and southern Iraq have been targeted deliberately with live fire, bringing the death toll in the latest protests by early December to over 400, with thousands injured. The killings have been carried out by militia members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and by Iraqi Security Forces, protestors report.

Read the joint appeal issued by CEASEFIRE and 14 other human rights organisations here: Authorities must immediately end the use of lethal force against protestors and stop targeting activists, journalists and the media

Read our October joint letter here: Freedom of speech and assembly under attack in Iraq

‘CEASEFIRE called for effective investigations into a wave of targeted assassinations by alleged PMF members a year ago’, said Executive Director Mark Lattimer. ‘The government’s failure to investigate and prosecute perpetrators means that the militias now feel they can shoot with impunity.’

Read the CEASEFIRE report in English here: Civilian Activists under Threat in Iraq

And in Arabic here نشطاء مدنيون تحت التهديد في العراق

Drawing on thousands of accounts of violations uploaded on CEASEFIRE’s violations reporting platform, the report details a pattern of attacks on civilian activists in 2018 including protestors, journalists and media workers, lawyers, women in public life, and other human rights defenders. In addition to the use of excessive force against protestors on the streets, the report documents a campaign of systematic death threats and premeditated assassinations.

Killings of unarmed protestors continue to be reported by official sources in Iraq as being carried out by ‘unknown assailants’. PMF militias aligned with Iran have, however, made little secret of their willingness to use force to end the protests.

Created in 2014 as an umbrella for militias fighting ISIS, the Hashd al-Sha’abi or Popular Mobilization Forces are now believed to number over 100,000 fighters. They include powerful militias supported by Iran such as the Badr Organisation, Kata’ib Hezbollah and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq. They were given official status by former prime minister Haider al-Abadi and now operate with the authority of the Iraqi state.

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Study finds displacement, economic hardship drive domestic abuse among Syrian refugees in Iraq   

March 2019

PDF: Combating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Refugee Crises: Lessons from working with Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: ENGLISH, ARABIC, KURDISH

A two-year programme on sexual and gender-based violence among Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq found that displacement and economic hardship have led to an increase in physical and emotional abuse, with one focus group of women reporting that as many as half of husbands yelled at and hit their wives.

The programme, a joint project run by the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Asuda, an Iraqi women’s rights group, surveyed Syrian refugees in the governorates of Erbil, Dohuk and Suleymania in Iraqi Kurdistan. The lessons learned from this study are highlighted in Ceasefire’s report: “Combating sexual and gender-based violence in refugee crises: Lessons from working in with Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq”.  

‘This report clearly highlights the psychological impact forceable displacement, exile and economic hardship has on vulnerable refugee populations,’ said Ceasefire’s Head of Middle East/North Africa Programmes, Miriam Puttick. ‘The most vulnerable sections of the refugee community – women and children – bear the brunt of this trauma.’

Almost half of the participants reported ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ mental health. Both male and female Syrian refugees said stresses related to displacement, especially financial stress and the inability to find work, had led to an increase in physical and emotional violence against women by their husbands, and to women taking out their stress and frustration verbally on their husbands and verbally and physically on their children.

Some women in Suleymania said many men were angry at how the men were treated by the host community — often taken advantage of at work, suffering physical and verbal abuse, being underpaid and forced to work long hours. These abuses were hard to address as Syrian refugees had inadequate access to legal protection.

‘However, the programme also made a strong case for the effectiveness of early and proactive intervention to address this issue, to change perceptions and start open discussions within the refugee community,’ Puttick noted. ‘The engagement of men and boys in this programming is critical – both to engage them as allies in sexual and gender-based violence programming and as potential victims of emotional and physical abuse.’

Key findings and recommendations of the programme include the importance of building trust in target communities, linking anti-SGBV efforts with livelihood and job creation schemes, ensuring services reach all of the affected community, including those living outside of refugee camps, and engaging host communities.

Recommendations for the INGO community engaged with SGBV include engaging the local government and building its capacity to effectively address this issue, and improving cooperation mechanisms between INGOs themselves.

Key project lessons: 

  • Project activities should be designed in a way that facilitates trust-building;
  • Anti-SGBV efforts should be combined with livelihoods assistance and job creation programmes;
  • Men and boys should be included in anti-SGBV programming by engaging them as allies in combating violence, but also by ensuring that services are available to male victims of SGBV;
  • Anti-SGBV programming should be extended to non-camp residents in a more sustained and targeted manner;
  • The quality of and access to shelter facilities for survivors of SGBV should be improved;
  • Host communities should be engaged with awareness sessions to reduce SGBV against refugees and create social cohesion between host and refugee communities.

Key lessons for INGOs: 

  • Building the capacity and involvement of the government should be a priority;
  • Cooperation mechanisms between NGOs need to be improved.

 

SianStudy finds displacement, economic hardship drive domestic abuse among Syrian refugees in Iraq   
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Meet the civilian activists from Iraq

Film by NiiWorks for Ceasefire /MRG.

SianMeet the civilian activists from Iraq
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Iraqi activists live in fear as death squad killings rise – new report

December 2018

Report PDF: Civilian Activists under Threat [PDF]

Civilian activists in Iraq are facing arbitrary detention, torture and premeditated assassinations, including at the hands of Shi’a militia members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), reports a new bulletin published today by the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International. Hundreds of human rights defenders have been detained and mistreated, and scores have been killed.

Drawing on thousands of accounts of violations uploaded on Ceasefire’s violations reporting platform, the bulletin details a pattern of attacks on civilian activists including protestors, journalists and media workers, lawyers, women in public life, and other human rights defenders. In addition to the use of excessive force against protestors on the streets, there has in recent months been a campaign of systematic death threats and premeditated assassinations.

‘While international attention is focused on the ISIS war, much of central and southern Iraq remains under the grip of Shi’a militias,’ said Ceasefire’s Director, Mark Lattimer. ‘The militias meet any criticism with violence and they know they can kill with impunity.’

Official investigations announced into the deaths of activists have failed to progress, with perpetrators generally described as ‘unknown’. Lawyers representing activists have themselves been targeted for intimidation or attack. While the 2005 Iraqi constitution acknowledges the role of civil society and protects freedoms of expression and assembly, relevant legislation in Iraq is outdated and activists remain highly vulnerable.

“The most powerful militias in the PMF have a long reputation for sectarian killing, but now they are turning on their own,’ added Mr Lattimer. ‘Activists in Basra and many southern and central cities are being gunned down simply for organising protests against corruption and poor services.’

Created in 2014 as an umbrella for militias fighting ISIS, the Hashd al-Sha’abi or Popular Mobilization Forces are now believed to number some 140,000 fighters. They include powerful militias supported by Iran such as the Badr Organisation, Kata’ib Hezbollah and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq. They were given official status by former prime minister Haider al-Abadi and now operate with the authority of the Iraqi state.

The report recommends that all security forces in Iraq, including the PMF, are brought under unified command and control that is accountable to the government, and that any other armed militias are disbanded and an effective demobilization, disarmament and re-integration (DDR) process implemented. Prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations should be conducted into all instances of alleged assassinations and other arbitrary killings of civilian activists and the results made public.

The report also recommends that international donors investigate corruption in the procurement or delivery of the services and development programmes they support in Iraq. Widespread popular protests against poor services, unemployment and corruption erupted in Basra, Baghdad, and other Iraqi cities over the summer and have since continued.

Notes for editors:

Civilian Activists under Threat in Iraq is published by the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International on 13 December 2018. Cases cited in the bulletin include those reported on the Ceasefire violations reporting platform at https://iraq.ceasefire.org a secure, digital, bilingual (Arabic/English) tool that enables civilians to report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, using reporting formats that conform to international standards (including identification details). Reports submitted are moderated before being made publicly available in anonymized form. For further details, including a discussion on the verification of reports, see our Eyes on the Ground report at https://www.ceasefire.org/eyes-on-the-ground-realizing-the-potential-of-civilian-led-monitoring-in-armed-conflict/

For further information or interviews with Mark Lattimer, Director, please email contact@ceasefire.org or call +44 7970 651342.

 

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Syrian refugee women and girls facing gender-based violence in Iraq’s Kurdistan region – new report

Syrian refugee women and girls facing gender-based violence in Iraq’s Kurdistan region – new report

May 2018

Seven years after the eruption of the conflict in Syria, refugee women and girls are facing gender-based violence in host countries in the region, says a new report from the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Asuda, a leading NGO combating violence against women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Report: Broken Lives: Violence against Syrian refugee women and girls in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (Kurdish version | Arabic version) is based on 92 in-depth interviews conducted by the two organizations with Syrian women and girls.

It finds that the pressures associated with displacement, combined with the deteriorating economic situation of refugees in the Kurdistan Region, have led to higher levels of gender-based violence in the Syrian refugee community. In particular, intimate partner violence is on the rise, although other forms of violence within the family are also common.

‘Almost all Syrian women and girls report that the violence they experience either started or became worse after arriving in Iraq,’ says Miriam Puttick, Head of Middle East and North Africa Programmes at the Ceasefire Centre and author of the report. ‘This shows a clear connection between conflict-driven displacement, and levels of violence within the home.’

However, most Syrian women and girls interviewed had not reported their experiences to any authority.

‘The refugee women interviewed, most of whom live outside of official camps, were particularly isolated,’ says Shan Shafik, Project Manager at Asuda who oversaw field research for the report. ‘They had limited knowledge of, and little ability to access, organizations and service providers who might be able to offer support.’

The Kurdistan Regional Government has taken measures in recent years to address gender-based violence in the KR-I, including by passing a law criminalizing domestic violence in 2011. Syrian refugees technically fall under the remit of the law.

However, despite the fact that the government, UN agencies, and NGOs have all incorporated protection from GBV into their programming targeting Syrian refugees, factors including lack of knowledge about the available services and lack of trust in the authorities prevent many survivors from reporting GBV.

Making matters worse, many Syrian households are struggling to make ends meet, causing women to downplay the importance of their experiences of gender-based violence.

‘The Syrian community was hard hit by the economic and security crisis that struck the Kurdistan Region beginning in 2014,’ says Puttick. ‘Finding employment as a refugee became even more difficult, while the international humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis remains chronically underfunded.’

The two organizations argue that as conflict rages on in Syria, humanitarian actors must continue to plan for the long-term needs of the Syrian refugee community in Iraq, including by devoting attention to the specific needs of refugee women and girls. In this regard, the report identifies gaps and shortcomings in the services and remedies currently available to survivors of violence, and presents strategies for improvement.

Notes to editors

The Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights is an initiative to develop ‘civilian-led monitoring’ of violations of international humanitarian law or human rights, to pursue legal and political accountability for those responsible for such violations, and to develop the practice of civilian rights.

Asuda for Combating Violence against Women is a women’s rights NGO operating in Iraqi Kurdistan. Asuda’s vision is a world where women enjoy dignity and equal rights and access to resources and opportunities, where all forms of discrimination and marginalisation against women have been eliminated, where violence plays no part in women’s lives.

The report was produced with the financial assistance of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

For further information about the report or to arrange interviews, email contact@ceasefire.org.

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Reparations for the victims of conflict in Iraq – new report

As Iraq rebuilds after ISIS conflict, ensuring reparations for the victims of violations committed by all sides should be priority.

November 2017

Report PDF: Reparations for the victims of conflict in Iraq: Lessons learned from comparative practice

As Iraq prepares to rebuild and recover from the conflict with ISIS, ensuring accountability for violations committed and reparations for victims is an immediate priority, says a new report from the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International.

‘The right of victims to receive reparations for violations suffered is well established in international human rights law and, increasingly, humanitarian law,’ says Miriam Puttick, co-author of the report.

‘Iraq is now at a turning point after more than three years of destructive conflict, and securing accountability for violations committed over this period is a national priority. Reparations should be a central component of the accountability process because of their enormous potential to make both a symbolic and concrete difference in the lives of victims,’ she adds.

Millions of Iraqi victims have suffered over decades as a consequence of gross human rights violations and serious violations of humanitarian law. Conflict with ISIS has led to the displacement of over 3.1 million people, the killing of thousands, and targeted campaigns against ethnic and religious communities.

The conflict has also resulted in widespread damage to infrastructure and personal property. At the same time, state institutions in large parts of the country have been left paralyzed and incapable of providing basic services to citizens.

The report assesses Iraq’s existing reparations scheme, which has paid out over IQD 420 billion (USD 355 million) in recent years to the victims of ‘military operations, military mistakes and terrorist actions’. But the most recent and complex phase of the conflict raises new challenges, requiring that the existing reparations system be strengthened. 

Reparations for the victims of conflict in Iraq: Lessons learned from comparative practice seeks to inform the discussion on reparations in Iraq through analysis of both international and domestic practice, and suggests concrete recommendations to both the Iraqi government and the international community for providing adequate and effective reparations to victims.

The international rights organisations say that reparations matter not only because they can redress the harm that victims have suffered, but because, if well conceived, they provide a transformative experience to victims.

‘Reparations can empower, dignify and return a voice to victims, as well as provide them with the opportunity to become agents of social change,’ says Ms Puttick. ‘Programmes should be anchored within a transitional justice framework, which includes elements such as judicial accountability and truth-seeking alongside reparation.’

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Eyes on the Ground: Realizing the potential of civilian-led monitoring in armed conflict

July 2017

Report PDF: EYES ON THE GROUND – Realizing the potential of civilian-led monitoring – Ceasefire July 2017

Technological advances have meant that civilians are now enabled to play a greater role than ever before in monitoring and documenting violations, finds a new report Eyes on the Ground: Realizing the potential of civilian-led monitoring in armed conflict.

As UN rapporteurs and other official international monitors are effectively denied access to a wide range of insecure territories around the world, civilian monitors have become a complementary, and in some cases the principal, source of information on what is happening on the ground to civilian populations.

The recommendations of the report on the strengthening of civilian-led monitoring draw on an expert seminar that took place in Geneva in June 2017, bringing together NGO leaders pioneering civilian-led monitoring in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other armed conflicts with senior representatives from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, Geneva Call, the Institute for International Humanitarian Law, academic and civil society experts and governments with an interest in promoting the implementation of international humanitarian law. As one of the experts commented: ‘The world doesn’t change with more information – but it just might, with good information.’

Civilian-led monitoring has developed on the back of:

  • The huge expansion in popular access to mobile telephony and digital communications;
  • The development of crowd-sourcing, digital mapping and crowd verification techniques, including through the use of open-source programmes;
  • Increased public awareness of human rights standards and IHL standards;
  • Advances in data-mining and news curation using increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence;
  • New opportunities for civil society organisation and activism created through social media;
  • Growing receptiveness of UN, inter-governmental and governmental bodies to information produced by civil society.

The increase in both the quantity and quality of data from civilian sources is also a response to the demand for real-time information and for in-situ monitoring. Traditional human rights and IHL monitoring mechanisms, including investigative rapporteurs and fact-finding missions, remain important but are subject to long time delays, frequent controversy over mandates, and concerns over selective reporting.

Drawing on the experience of a major pilot of civilian-led monitoring in Iraq, this report discusses significant challenges for civilian-led monitoring, including quality control, verification, security of activists and victims, and ethical questions raised by interviewing and documentation undertaken by unqualified activists. The challenges of verifying and authenticating information posted online are exacerbated during armed conflict where the deliberate spread of misinformation has a long history. This report discusses different approaches and techniques to verifying civilian-led monitoring information, including building on the experience developed by large media organizations for assessing user-generated content.

To support the effective deployment and expansion of civilian-led monitoring, this report recommends:

  • Appropriate training and capacity-building for civil-society organizations and activists on the ground in conflict-affected environments, including training on monitoring and documentation techniques, IHL and human rights standards, and cyber security;
  • Development of standardised reporting formats and related technical support in partnership with local civil society or civilian populations, to reflect the linguistic, technological and security situation on the ground;
  • Strengthened protection mechanisms for civilian monitors and other human rights defenders, including improved cyber security infrastructure;
  • Ensuring civilian rights to participate fully in civilian protection, peace-building and transitional justice processes.
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Ending enforced disappearance: from Baghdad to Belfast

January 2018

Pooling international best practice to support Iraq in ending enforced disappearances was the theme of a combined study and advocacy tour to Belfast and London undertaken by leading Iraqi MPs last month, organized by the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights in partnership with the Institute for International Law and Human Rights.

Iraq has faced the recurring problem of enforced disappearances at many times in its recent history, and all Iraq’s communities have been affected. Thousands of people remain missing, even just from the latest phase of the conflict. In 2010 Iraq acceded to the International Convention on Enforced Disappearance but it has yet to enact any implementing legislation.

Following an agreement with the Human Rights Committee of the Iraqi Parliament, Ceasefire and IILHR have provided technical assistance in reviewing draft legislation in line with international standards.

In December, key members and officials of the Iraqi Human Rights Committee responsible for the bill came to London and Belfast to hold discussions with academics specializing in transitional justice from the School of African and Oriental Studies – University of London, Queen’s University Belfast, MPs and Peers, UK Foreign Office officials, relevant NGOs and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (NI).

Photo caption: MPs from the Iraqi delegation meet in Belfast with Ceasefire and IILHR staff and the lead forensic investigator for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (December 2017)

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Thousands of civilians now at risk in Mosul assault – new report

October 2016

Report PDF: Civilian protection in the battle for Mosul: critical priorities

The lives of thousands of civilians are at critical risk in the assault on Mosul, a new survey of recent practice by Iraqi and international coalition forces finds.

Civilian protection in the battle for Mosul: Critical priorities finds that recent precedents from military operations to retake Iraqi cities from ISIS control, including Tikrit, Ramadi, Fallujah and Sinjar, demonstrate a pattern of repeated failures to implement sufficient measures for civilian protection, both in the conduct of hostilities and in planning for the humanitarian consequences. Unless those failures are addressed, thousands of civilians are at risk of being killed in Mosul.

Since 2014, ISIS has deliberately targeted civilians on numerous occasions, but parties on both sides of the conflict, including the Iraqi Security Forces and allied Popular Mobilisation Units, are responsible for:

  • launching indiscriminate attacks, which fail to distinguish between military objectives and civilians or civilian objects;
  • the use of prohibited weapons, and attacks on places of special protection, including hospitals and medical facilities;
  • the recruitment of child soldiers; and
  • the inhumane treatment of detained civilians and fighters hors de combat in violation of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, including murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture and unfair trials.

This conduct, together with the imposition of siege tactics on ISIS-held cities and the intensive bombardment of urban areas by Iraqi and international coalition forces, has combined with the ISIS tactic of using ‘human shields’ to result in thousands of civilian casualties and high levels of civilian suffering, the report says.

The failure to ensure humanitarian access as well as safe corridors for population flight has also been compounded by the imposition on IDPs by Iraqi and Kurdish authorities of discriminatory documentation, screening and entry procedures at check-points and governorate border crossings.

In the context of military operations to retake Mosul, this report recommends:

  • Members of the international coalition, including the US, UK and France, should take greater collective responsibility for ending gross violations committed by the Iraqi forces to which they provide operational military support; and should establish a civilian casualty tracking cell in Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve to ensure civilian casualties are acknowledged promptly and investigated rapidly and transparently;
  • The Iraqi Security Forces and allied militias should actively suppress revenge attacks and collective punishments inflicted by their forces on communities perceived to have supported ISIS and ensure the perpetrators of any such attacks are held accountable;
  • All parties to the conflict should adhere at all times to their obligations under international humanitarian law, including ensuring respect for the fundamental principle of distinction, and their obligations under international human rights law.
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