Up to 1m people ‘disappeared’ in Iraq in last half century – UN – Middle East Monitor


Up to 1 million people have “disappeared” in Iraq during half a century of turmoil, which has included Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial rule, a US-led military occupation and the rise of Daesh militants, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Reuters reports.

The UN Committee on Enforcement Proceedings urged Iraq, which has one of the highest numbers of missing people in the world, to seek victims and punish perpetrators.

But that was hampered by the lack of a definition of “enforced disappearance” as a crime in Iraqi law, his report said.

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“The UN Committee on Implementation Proceedings on Iraq has urged the immediate establishment of the foundation to prevent, eradicate and repair this heinous crime,” he said.

There was no immediate response from the Iraqi government spokesman or the Ministry of Interior.

Up to 290,000 people, including around 100,000 Kurds, were forcibly disappeared by Hussein’s “campaign of genocide” in Kurdistan between 1968 and 2003, the UN report said.

The escapes continued after the US-led invasion in 2003, in which at least 200,000 Iraqis were arrested, almost half of whom were held in prisons run by the US or Britain.

“Detainees were allegedly arrested without warrant for their participation in insurgency operations, and others were ‘civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time’,” the Committee said.

Daesh’s declaration of a caliphate over part of Iraqi territory has been accompanied by a new wave of kidnappings.

“Other continuing patterns include the alleged execution of children, particularly Yezidi children born after their mothers were sexually abused in Daesh camps,” the Committee said, using terms for the Islamic State.

Stating that between 250,000 and 1 million people were estimated to have disappeared since 1968, the Committee also called on Iraq to create an independent task force to ensure that detainees are listed and families informed of their whereabouts.

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