Beyond the Veil: Women in Iran continue to face discrimination

September 2019

PDF: Beyond the Veil: Discrimination Against Women in Iran in ENGLISH and PERSIAN

The human rights environment for women in Iran continues to be characterized by inequality and exclusion in all areas of Iranian society, says a group of human rights organizations in a comprehensive new report.

Beyond the Veil: Discrimination against women in Iran by the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights, Minority Rights Group International and the Centre for Supporters of Human Rights (CSHR) delineates how Iranian women and girls face discrimination in all aspects of their lives, from participation in public life to access to education and employment, as well as in marriage and other family matters. In addition, the report highlights how the many ongoing efforts at reform within Iran have been obstructed, with recent protests by women activists against state repression being met by an escalation in official surveillance and intimidation.

‘President Rouhani’s repeated promises to improve the situation of women’s rights have rung hollow’ says Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Laureate and Chair of CSHR. ‘Instead, Iran has increased its repression of women human rights defenders. Women who have peacefully protested compulsory veiling laws have been attacked, detained and imprisoned.’

Iran is one of just six UN member states that have not signed the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and its national legislation enshrines many barriers to accessing basic rights in areas such as employment, marriage and citizenship.

‘These issues are especially pronounced for minority women, who often face intersectional discrimination on account of their ethnic and religious identity,’ says Joshua Castellino, Executive Director of Minority Rights Group International (MRG). For instance, while the gap in literacy rates between women and men has narrowed, girls from ethnic minorities remain particularly disadvantaged when it comes to education, not least because many of the provinces home to ethnic minorities are among Iran’s poorest and most marginalized.’

Despite certain advancements for gender equity in Iran in recent years, such as an amendment enabling women to pass on nationality at childbirth for the first time, continued resistance to equality by conservative forces has largely curtailed meaningful progress. Women’s rights were not a focus of the 2017 election, and Iran’s current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has called gender equality ‘one of the biggest mistakes of Western thought’.

The report concludes with recommendations for women’s and girl’s rights for the UN’s Universal Periodic Review of Iran, scheduled for November of this year. It also recommends that states that have established bilateral human rights dialogues with Iran in the past continue to prioritize human rights and follow up on any women’s rights recommendations they might have already made.

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.
  • Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is the leading international human rights organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.
  • The Centre for Supporters of Human Rights is a non-governmental organisation established in the UK in 2012. Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2003, is one of its founders and the chair of the Centre. The objectives of the Centre are the advancement of education and increased awareness of human rights in the Middle East, in particular in Iran.
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Peoples Under Threat 2019: The role of social media in exacerbating violence

4 June 2019

PDF: Peoples under Threat 2019 briefing.

Website: Peoples under Threat

The use of social media by repressive states and extremist groups is adding directly to the threats faced by some of the world’s most vulnerable populations and can exacerbate violence where atrocities have occurred or risk transpiring, according to new data analysis provided by Minority Rights Group International (MRG) and the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights.

The analysis, known as the Peoples under Threat index, uses authoritative indicators to identify those countries around the world most at risk of genocide, mass killing or systematic violent repression. This year’s index draws attention to the numerous instances where social media is being used in an organized way to disseminate hate and incite killing.

‘Unequal access to modern technology by way of social media creates an accelerated process through which hate and xenophobia can spread,’ says Joshua Castellino, MRG’s Executive Director. ‘The immediacy of the medium facilitates opinion without need for context or nuance. The sensationalist nature of some of these communications, designed to shock and awe, inevitably aids their spread.’

Syria, where social media platforms are used actively by all sides in the war, heads this year’s Peoples under Threat index. The power of hashtags persists in Syria, where supporters of President Bashar al-Assad popularized a #SyriaHoax hashtag on Twitter to discredit the overwhelming evidence of horrific chemical attacks on civilian targets. Numerous videos uploaded to YouTube by many parties to the conflict have received hundreds of millions of views, leading the Syrian conflict to be dubbed the ‘social media war’.

Somalia maintains its position behind Syria in the index. As it relates to social media, Al-Shabaab has been known to use Twitter and Facebook as propaganda and recruitment tools in an environment where mobile phone use has steadily risen in recent years.

Afghanistan is among those states where threat levels have increased this year. The civilian death toll in Afghanistan reached an all-time annual high in 2018, with 3,804 killed and another 7,189 injured. Government-controlled territory also shrank to its lowest since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. To mitigate this discouraging picture, the Afghan Ministry of Defense publishes daily figures of Taliban fighters who are killed or captured to its Twitter feed. The Taliban, in turn, widely uses WhatsApp and Twitter to recruit, plan, fundraise and claim responsibility for its attacks.

Myanmar is a stark example of the link between social media and the commission of atrocities. In this instance, dehumanizing language and outright incitement to mass murder was amplified via Facebook and Twitter, contributing to the widespread targeting of the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Iraq remains vulnerable to outbreaks of violence, and during its most intense and violent repression of minority communities, ISIS used the Twitter hashtag #AllEyesOnISIS to publicise its atrocities. While the hashtag has recently lost much of its currency, its deliberate use demonstrates how social media has become an important conduit for spreading hate and fear.

The threat level has also risen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as the country now holds more than 5 million displaced people within its borders and represents the largest displacement crisis on the African continent. Authorities in Kinshasa have engineered internet and social media bans to assist in denials of government mismanagement and insecurity.

’In country after country, social media platforms are now being used to spread hate, recruit the killers, and organize mass killing,’ said Mark Lattimer, Executive Director of the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights. ‘For years we have thought of social media as the friend of civil society, but it is now being used against them on an unprecedented scale.’

India is among the highest risers this year, moving up 16 places in the Peoples Under Threat Index in 2018. Violence has been escalating in Kashmir since 2016 when a separatist commander with a major social media following among Kashmiris was killed. With increased militarisation by the government, 2018 saw the highest death toll in the region in a decade, along with greater coooperation between several Islamist separatist groups. Meanwhile, across India, it is important to note that social media has played a significant role in advancing Hindu nationalism and intolerance towards minorities and perceived outsiders in the lead-up to the 2019 general elections. Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), supporters and ‘bots’ ratcheted up the production of inflammatory, anti-Muslim messaging. The BJP’s president Amit Shah called Bangladeshi migrants ‘termites’, and the party’s Twitter account echoed his words. The BJP won the election returning Prime Minister Narendra Modi to power with a renewed mandate. However, in the few days since the BJP’s victory, Muslims have already been targeted by numerous hate attacks.

Cameroon has also leapt up the index amid escalating political violence. Peaceful demonstrations in 2016 against decades of political and economic marginalization of the country’s Anglophone regions by the largely French-speaking government led to a separatist movement for an independent state. Facing prolonged internet shutdowns and scant international attention, protestors, and later separatists, have relied heavily on Twitter hashtags to mobilize. President Paul Biya, in power since 1982, even labelled social media used by separatists ‘a new form of terrorism’. Meanwhile, Boko Haram attacks persist in the far north, adding to the growing numbers of internally displaced and deepening the humanitarian crisis.

‘Regulating hate and false news is an imperative, with collective responsibility: of technology companies, states and politicians, but also of a responsible civil society and general population’, says Castellino. ‘Failures, as this report demonstrates, increase the threats that vulnerable communities face, which becomes ever more acute in a context of heightened competition for limited resources.’

Social media promises to increasingly influence how violence is perceived or responded to. Upheaval and conflict can no longer be dislocated from the use of social media by an array of actors. It is also important, however, to consider how these expansive communication tools can be equally used to mitigate hate and combat the spread of misinformation.

This is the 14th year that the Peoples under Threat index has been released by MRG, joined now by the Ceasefire Centre. It is based on indicators from authoritative sources and continues to provide early warnings of potential mass atrocities.

Notes to editors

  • Visit the online map which visualizes data from Peoples under Threat. View the map by year or by country, and find links to reports, press releases and further information on the communities under threat.
  • Download the full Peoples under Threat 2019 briefing.

Interview opportunities: 

  • Joshua Castellino, Executive Director, Minority Rights Group International (London, UK)
  • Mark Lattimer, Executive Director, Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights (London, UK)
  • Minority representatives from Syria, Somalia, Iraq, DRC and other countries featured in the index.

For more information or to arrange interviews please contact:

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Call for expert researchers on Iran and Iraq

Calls for experts to research and write reports on human rights-related issues in Iran and Iraq

The Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International are seeking two experts to research and write separate reports on human rights in Iran and Iraq.

The Iraq expert will research and write a report on reparations and the future of Mosul, considering the legacy of violations committed in recent years and the implementation of reparations, focusing on the consequences for human rights in Iraq.

The Iran expert will research and write a report on human rights violations in Iran related to measures taken for the purpose of national security and/or the prevention of terrorism, including the impact of these violations on Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities.

Both reports will be approximately 12,000 words long, written in English and are to be completed by no later than 19 August 2019. Remuneration for each report will be US $4000.

Applicants should submit a CV, a brief cover letter and a suggested chapter outline by no later than 10am on 27 May to contact@ceasefire.org

Please refer to the terms of reference below for more details.

TOR: A report on security-related human rights violations in Iran

TOR: A report on reparations and the future of Mosul

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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.

 

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ISIS fighters and their families facing justice: Eight options and four principles

Report PDF: Read the report here.

March 2019

Crimes under international law committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), including systematic attacks on civilian populations, have shocked the world. Now that the remaining ISIS-controlled territory in Syria is regained, attention is at last focusing on bringing ISIS leaders and fighters to justice. These include Iraqi and Syrian nationals, as well as the so-called ‘foreign fighters’ – nationals of other states in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as European, North American and other nationals. In particular, a global debate has begun about what to do with foreign fighters and their families, including a significant number of women and children.

This Ceasefire briefing considers eight accountability options potentially facing ISIS fighters and their families. It assesses the feasibility of each option and its implications, and then highlights four cross-cutting principles that should be taken into account in any decisions on justice mechanisms.

Since at least 2014, the need to hold ISIS accountable for its crimes has been considered a global priority. Which mechanism or mechanisms are now implemented will have major implications for the security of individual states across the world, for the long-term stability of the Middle East and North Africa, and, most pressing of all, for delivering justice to the tens of thousands of ISIS victims.

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Meet the civilian activists from Iraq

Film by NiiWorks for Ceasefire /MRG.

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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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Using law to protect civilians: launch of The Grey Zone

September 2018

“The main legal norm being eroded in conflicts today is the distinction between combatants and civilians”

How has the face of modern conflict changed? What happens to the civilian population caught in the grey zone between the traditional fields of application of human rights and the laws of war?

These were among the urgent questions considered on 12 September at a packed event at the Swiss ambassador’s residence in London to launch The Grey Zone: Civilian Protection between Human Rights and the Laws of War. Edited by Ceasefire director Mark Lattimer and Professor Philippe Sands QC of University College London, The Grey Zone includes contributions from some 20 leading international jurists on challenges and developments for the law protecting civilians.

Swiss Ambassador Alexandre Fasel opened the panel discussion on international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians in modern armed conflict, and Minister François Voeffray outlined Swiss initiatives regarding IHL compliance and the prosecution of starvation as a method of warfare.

‘The conditions on the ground in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen show how much modern warfare has changed,’ said Ceasefire’s Mark Lattimer, introducing the discussion. ‘But they are often poorly reflected in legal definitions or indeed in the international media.’

‘Conflicts are becoming more complex, more fragmented, and more protracted,’ explained Helen Alderson, Head of the UK Delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross. The urbanization of conflict, the impact of new conflict technologies and the targeting of civilians were other game changers in warfare she highlighted.

Contributors Philippe Sands, Liesbeth Zegveld and Mark Lattimer

Contributors Philippe Sands, Liesbeth Zegveld and Mark Lattimer

Professor Marco Sassòli, Director of the Geneva Academy, identified enforcement of international law as the greatest challenge. ‘The main legal norm being eroded in conflicts today is the distinction between combatants and civilians – which is the foundational principle of international humanitarian law.’

‘The international order created in 1945 is now under existential threat,’ warned Philippe Sands. ‘A systematic assault on the system is taking place – and it will soon include an assault on the Geneva Conventions.’

Professor Liesbeth Zegveld of Amsterdam University, a leading litigator for the rights of civilians and a contributor to The Grey Zone, said: ‘What most civilians want from legal action is not compensation, but an answer to the questions: What happened to us? And why?’

‘The Grey Zone: Civilian Protection between Human Rights and the Laws of War’, edited by Mark Lattimer and Philippe Sands, is published by Hart Publishing / Bloomsbury Professional.

@CeasefireCentre           @hartpublishing

Main photo: Swiss ambassador Alexandre Fasel introduces the London discussion

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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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