Women suspected of ISIS links subjected to abuses in northern Iraq: Amnesty

Iraq The Kakai Kurds are returning to their homes

Iraq The Kakai Kurds are returning to their homes

The research shows that women and children in IDP camps across Iraq are denied food and health care as a result of their perceived ties to IS.

"Women were being coerced and pressured into entering sexual relationships in exchange for desperately needed cash, humanitarian aid and protection from other men", the report said.

As well as the sexual violence, local Iraqi and tribal officials were denying the women and their children access to humanitarian aid because of their suspected links to militants.

"It can require as little as having the same name as someone affiliated with the group, being from a certain area that was an ISIL stronghold, a certain tribe, or having a family member believed to be connected to ISIL, also known as ISIS, even if they worked in a menial role, like as a cook", she said.

Numerous women interviewed by Amnesty in IDP camps expressed fears for their safety.

"Women are being subjected to dehumanising and discriminatory treatment by armed men operating in the camps for their alleged affiliation with IS".

"The very people who are supposed to be protecting them are turning into predators".

Amnesty called on the government to show that it was "serious" about ending the violations against women by holding all perpetrators to account and keeping armed men out of the camps. Those who have arrived back to their homes have encountered evictions, looting, threats and abuse, the report said. In some instances, their houses have been marked "Daeshi" (the Arabic term for IS) and destroyed or they have had their electricity, water and other services cut off.

"Maha" described to Amnesty International the despair she felt at facing such discrimination.

"Sometimes I ask myself: why didn't I just die in an airstrike? I put kerosene on myself, but before I lit it on fire, I thought of my son", she said. "I am completely alone - without my husband, my father - no one is with me any more".

The EU is a major contributor to humanitarian aid and in 2018 there is likely to be a "drying up" of the worldwide funding for Iraq, according to Waldman.

"To put an end to the poisonous cycle of marginalization and communal violence that has plagued Iraq for decades, the Iraqi government and worldwide community must commit to upholding the rights of all Iraqis without discrimination", Maalouf said.

Since the fall of Mosul, eyewitnesses and humanitarian organisations have documented widespread abuses by the Iraqi forces. "These families must be allowed to return home without fear of intimidation, arrest or attacks", said Colm O'Gorman.

Maalouf added: "The authorities must also immediately end the systematic and widespread practice of forcibly disappearing men and boys with perceived ties to Isis, which has has left thousands of wives, mothers, daughters and sons in desperate situations".

'The Condemned': The London-based rights group's latest report is based on 92 interviews with women in eight camps for displaced Iraqis in the provinces of Nineveh and Salaheddin, north of Baghdad. Researchers also interviewed 30 local and worldwide NGO workers, 11 members of camp administrations and nine current and former United Nations officials.

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