Thursday, June 13, 2024

UN says up to 1 million people ‘disappeared’ in Iraq over last 50 years

The United Nations says up to one million people have "disappeared" in Iraq over the past five decades. The world body has urged Baghdad to take immediate action to end the enforced disappearances in the Arab country.

The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances said in a new report released on Tuesday that the practice of enforced disappearance has been widespread in much of the territory of Iraq over different periods, including the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein, the US-led military occupation and the rise of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

“The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances urged Iraq to immediately establish the basis to prevent, eradicate and repair this heinous crime,” the report added.

The committee also called on Iraq to seek victims and punish perpetrators, and to immediately include enforced disappearance as a crime in Iraqi law.

“As enforced disappearance still does not exist as an autonomous crime in national legislation, it cannot be prosecuted as such in Iraq,” it said.

The report further noted that up to 290,000 people, including some 100,000 Kurds, were forcibly disappeared as part of Saddam’s “genocidal campaign” in Iraqi Kurdistan between 1968 and 2003.

Following the US-led invasion in 2003, the US military captured at least 200,000 Iraqis, nearly half of whom were held in prisons run by the United States or Britain.

“It is alleged that detainees were arrested without a warrant for their involvement in insurgency operations, while others were ‘civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time’,” the committee added.

A new wave of abductions swept Iraq during the Daesh reign of terror over parts of the Arab country, the report said.

“Other ongoing patterns include the alleged enforced disappearance of children, especially Izadi children born after their mothers were sexually abused in Daesh camps,” it added.

According to official figures, it is estimated that between 250,000 and 1 million individuals have been disappeared since 1968 due to conflict and political violence, the committee said, urging Iraq to create an independent task force to ensure detainees are listed and families informed of their location.

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